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When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

cffblog6.jpgJanuary 13, 2018 (Saturday)

This hymn, "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder," is a joy to sing and a wonderful congregational hymn. Although its message speaks of a roll call, the Scriptures do not seem to predict one as such. The closest I could find is Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

The story behind the song is that James Black loved young people and tried to win them to Christ. One day, as he passed through an alley, he met a ragged fourteen-year-old girl. She was the daughter of an alcoholic. He invited her to his Sunday school and youth group and she began to attend.

However, one day when he took roll, the girl did not respond. Each child had to say a Scripture verse when his or her name was called. James saw a lesson in her silence. "I spoke of what a sad thing it would be when our names are called from the Lamb's Book of Life, if one of us should be absent." There is more to the story, but these are the key thoughts about the song's origin.

WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER
Words and Music by James M. Black, 1893

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

Refrain:
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there.




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