Friday, May 3, 2019

"The Love of God" Reclaimed Wood Art

It's one of my favorite hymns, "The Love of God" written by Frederick M. Lehman.

The love of God is greater far
  Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
  And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
  God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
  And pardoned from his sin.

I love reading the history of how these rich hymns steeped in Scripture came to be.  It seems there is a story behind almost every one and this one is no exception.

 Lehman was a California businessman who lost everything through business reverses. He was forced to spend his working hours in manual labor, working in a Pasadena packing house packing oranges and lemons into wooden crates. Frederick was a Christian who did not allow his circumstances to define his faith in the Lord. One Sunday he heard a sermon on the love of God. He was so moved that he could hardly sleep. The next morning, the thrill of the previous evening had not left him. As he drove to the packing house, the makings of a song began to come together in his head, with God’s love as the theme. 

Throughout the day, as he packed oranges and lemons, the words continued to flow. There are varying accounts of how he chose to pen the words but regardless, he was so moved by the love of God even in the midst of these circumstances that he wrote the first two verses of the song and composed the music to go along with it.

The second verse says:

When hoary time shall pass away,
  And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray,
  On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,
  All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
  The saints’ and angels’ song.

However, Lehman was 'stuck' when it came to creating a third stanza. . . until he remembered a poem someone had given him before.  He found it was the perfect third verse to his song!  (This is my favorite verse and the one I used for this project!)

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
  And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
  And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
  Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
  Though stretched from sky to sky.

Now for the even 'cooler' part . . . the origin of that poem.

It is not known if this rabbi was a follower of Messiah but either way, it's apparent that God moved him to write this poem knowing it would be the perfect fit to Frederick Lehman's hymn, "The Love of God".  It's said that workers went into his cell to paint the walls after his death and found these words.  Being moved by them, they copied them down before painting over them!  Praise God they did!

A friend gave me a  bunch of these old tongue-and-groove wood siding pieces.  They were perfect for this project. A white wash, and they were ready for the words.

Traced onto the wood using graphite paper underneath, they're ready for painting.

The painting isn't perfect but I sand lightly, which helps to hide 'flaws'.  However, some flaws need fixed like this "r" that went haywire. Easy . . . a little sanding removes the "oops" and then you're ready to paint.

I used some of my favorite stamps (love that 'water mark ring') and some random 'splotch' mark stamps to weather this a bit more.

I added a piece of 1/4" plywood on the back with nails to secure all of the pieces together. You could use any scrap wood for this project!  This is now hanging in my office at the church where I work.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
  How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.



  1. Lovely, you are so talented! I love that song.

  2. This is beautiful! I love this hymn and how very true that we can never measure the Love the Lord Jesus Christ has for us.

  3. Such a beautiful story, and such a lovely sign! I love this song, too. When I think of the words and the message, I feel so overwhelmed by the thought that He could love me that much. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend.

  4. This is one of my favorite hymns also. What a unique and meaningful project!

  5. Lauren- Those are wonderful--you did a fantastic job there! I love the really old hymns and love the stories that hide behind the words. Thanks- I did not know this story. xo Diana

  6. What a wonderful project Lauren - and the words are so powerful.

  7. It's the perfect decor for a church office!

  8. I loved reading the story of how the hymn came about, Lauren! How wonderful to have your lovely piece that you created, now hanging in your office at church. You did a great job on the project, but even more importantly, I'm sure the words will touch someone else that visits you.

  9. I love the story behind these old hymns too! You have truly created something so beautiful!

  10. Just gorgeous! How perfect your words all line up to create such a unique piece.

  11. I am not familiar with many old hymns as I was not raised in church. But I can certainly understand why the back story of this hymn helps to make it one of your favorites. And that last verse is magnificent. Your project turned out beautifully, too. Love how easy you make it seem to be able to correct your 'oops'. And by looking at your finished project, you would never know that 'r' had gone rogue!

    1. I love many 'contemporary' songs but some of these old hymns . . . so rich. There are many books which tell these stories of the old hymns . . . I have several and love reading how these songs came to be. Thanks for your visit and kind comments :)

  12. A beautiful song and a beautiful post...thanks for sharing the history. blessings

  13. That was interesting, Lauren, I love hearing the background stories.

  14. That is a beautiful hymn and story behind it, and your wall art with the hymn words turned out pretty.


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