DAY IS DYING IN THE WEST
Mary A. Lathbury, 1841–1913
Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel. (Isaiah 30:29 KJV)
Those evening clouds, that setting ray, and beauteous tints, sure to display their great Creator’s praise;
Then let the short-lived thing called man, whose life’s comprised within a span, to Him his homage raise.
—Sir Walter Scott
It is so easy to lose oneself in the majestic spectacles of the setting sun as it slowly fades over the horizon—yet forget to praise God, the source of all beauty. Mary Lathbury reminds us to “wait and worship” the “Lord most high” as we stand in awe at the passing of each day.
With a desire to encourage religious and cultural activities, Miss Lathbury worked with others to establish the Chautauqua Movement on the shores of beautiful Lake Chautauqua near Jamestown, New York. She became affectionately known as the “Poet Laureate and Saint of Chautauqua.” In 1877, Mary was asked to write a hymn that would be suitable for the evening vesper services of Chautauqua. As she stood on the shore of the lake watching the magnificent setting sun one evening, Mary received the inspiration for the first two stanzas of her hymn. The final two stanzas were added 2 years later. After the music director of Chautauqua, Professor William Fisk Sherwin, composed a suitable melody for the text, “Day Is Dying in the West” was used that same summer. It has been used as the vesper hymn for all evening services of Chautauqua at its lovely New York site ever since.
Day is dying in the west, heav’n is touching earth with rest; wait and worship while the night sets her evening lamps alight thru all the sky.
Lord of life, beneath the dome of the universe, Thy home, gather us who seek Thy face to the fold of Thy embrace, for Thou art nigh.
While the deep’ning shadows fall, heart of Love, enfolding all, thru the glory and the grace of the stars that veil Thy face, our hearts ascend.
When forever from our sight pass the stars, the day, the night, Lord of angels, on our eyes let eternal morning rise, and shadows end.
Chorus: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heav’n and earth are full of Thee! Heav’n and earth are praising Thee, O Lord most high!
For Today: Psalm 4:7, 8; 19:1, 2; 69:34; Isaiah 6:3
As you observe the setting sun or any of the wonders of God’s creation, offer worship and praise to Him for the beauties He has provided for us.