In December of 1876, Philip Bliss, music director and Sunday school superintendant, boarded a train with his wife Lucy. They were traveling from Pennsylvania, where they had spent Christmas with his family, back to Chicago, where he had been asked to sing at Moody’s Tabernacle. On the way, when they were passing over a canyon during a snowstorm, the bridge they were on collapsed, and the train fell into the gorge below. Philip survived the crash, but after he had crawled out to safety, he returned for his wife, who was still trapped in the fiery wreckage. Sadly, his efforts were in vain, and they died together. Later, his trunk arrived in Chicago, and its precious cargo was revealed. In it were the words to the beloved hymn, I Will Sing of My Redeemer. Philip Bliss had sung of His redeemer as his last anthem on this earth.
His story makes me wonder: what will my song be about? If nothing else, I hope it will be about my redeemer. In life or in death, wherever He leads and in whatever I do, I hope and pray that like Philip Bliss, I will sing of Him. He deserves all praise, all glory, all love, and all worship. He is worthy, He ransomed me, He “redeemed my life from the pit” by enduring a cruel cross. He owes me nothing, and I owe Him everything. To paraphrase the words of Fanny Crosby, “He is my story, and He is my song.”
I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.
Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.
Philip Paul Bliss
The Last Song