Softly and Tenderly
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me.
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, (Or patiently Jesus is…)
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling, “Oh, sinner, come home!”
If you live in Southern Ontario and listen to a local classical radio station, you may be lucky enough to hear this beloved old hymn sung on a recording by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It’s surprising and heartwarming to hear this invitation going out to the listening public!
Will Thompson, from the small town of East Liverpool, Ohio,
wrote both words and music back in 1880. He had studied music at the Boston Conservatory of Music and in Leipzig, Germany, with some notable musicians. He began his career by writing secular and patriotic songs, with little sales success, but two songs eventually became hits: “My Home on the Old Ohio” and “Gathering Shells from the Sea”. Will became a millionaire, whether from songwriting and/or from working in his father’s merchant business. He decided to thank God for his financial success by dedicating himself to writing only Christian songs. He established Will L. Thompson & Co., with offices in East Liverpool and Chicago, and his quartet numbers sold two million copies.
Will was known as a simple and sincere man, whose concern for rural residents of the time led him to load an upright piano onto a two-horse wagon and travel and play his own songs in country churches in the U.S. Midwest.
Most moving of all is the following anecdote. In the late 1890’s Will Thompson visited evangelist Dwight L. Moody, who was ill and near death. Most visitors had been turned away, but Moody called for Thompson. “Will,” he said, “I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling’ than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.” Such an amazing tribute!
(SONG BOOK #264 – SECTION: Section: The Gospel – Invitation)
Resource material from ROBERT J. MORGAN’S “THEN SINGS MY SOUL – BOOK 2”