Shall We Gather at the River?

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In July 1864, Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister, was tired and began thinking of future things, especially of the gathering of the saints around God’s throne. He began to wonder why so many had written so much of the river of death and so little of the river of life. A hymn began to take form, first as a question, “Shall we gather at the river?”

Then came the answer, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river.”
With his heart full of these thoughts, he seated himself at his parlor organ, and both the words and the music of the famous hymn came to him as if by inspiration.
Soon, the words and music to this famous hymn were completed.

There is nothing on earth more restful than the banks of a winding river. And God has placed a river in heaven, a beautiful crystal river that will make glad the hearts of all God’s children someday.

Shall We Gather at the River

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide for ever
Flowing by the throne of God?

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river,
Gather with the saints at the river,
That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will walk and worship ever,
All the happy, golden day.

Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we ev’ry burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.

Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior’s face,
Saints whom death will never sever
Lift their songs of saving grace.