There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10
Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr., in Songs of Love and Praise, edited by John R. Sweney (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John J. Hood, 1894). This song was written in an age when sailing ships were the primary mode of world travel. One can imagine how the words resonated for all those who had ever stood on a pier waiting and praying for the return of loved ones who had been incommunicado for weeks or months at sea.
If you know where to get a better photo of Oatman,
When our ships have crossed the ocean,
And have been all round the world,
When they safely gain the harbor,
And their sails again are furled;
We rejoice to see them enter,
And to know the anchor’s cast,
Raising joyful shouts of welcome,
For our ships are home at last.
Oh, what singing, oh, what shouting,
When our ships come sailing home;
They have stood the mighty tempests,
They have crossed the ocean’s foam;
They have passed o’er stormy billows,
But they now have gained the shore;
The anchor’s cast, they’re home at last,
The voyage is safely o’er.
But if there is such rejoicing
To see vessels here get home,
When we know that in a little
While these ships again will roam;
Oh, what must it be in Heaven
When a soul comes sailing in,
To go out no more forever,
Sailing on the sea of sin?
O, methinks I hear the angels shout,
Here comes an earthly bark;
She has found her way to Heaven,
Tho’ the way was rough and dark;
But she had a star to guide her,
Called the bright and morning star;
It has guided millions over
From that distant land afar.
So with Jesus as our captain
We expect to gain that shore;
We expect to cast our anchor there,
And stay forevermore;
And we know the angels will be there
To greet us when we come;
They will join in songs of rapture,
Welcome home, oh, welcome home.