A Sermon in Song based on the Hymn:
Peace Perfect Peace
Written in 1875, Peace, Perfect Peace was a favorite hymn of England’s Queen Victoria. It was first published in a tract titled Songs in the House of Pilgrimage. Edward H. Bickersteth (1825-1906) wrote this hymn after he heard a sermon based on Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” In the Hebrew the words are “peace, peace” twice repeated but rendered in the King James translation by the phrase “perfect peace.” Later that day Bickersteth visited an elderly and dying relative who was troubled in mind, and he wrote this verse (not in most songbooks today) to bring spiritual comfort to his friend.
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.5:1). The Hebrew word for peace (shalom) means more than a cessation of war. It includes blessings such as wholeness, health, quietness of soul, preservation, and completeness.
The first line of each stanza is in the form of a question about some disturbing experience of life with the second line giving an answer, telling the source of peace. The hymn can be sung antiphonally with one part of the congregation singing the question and the second part the answer.
In The One Year Book of Hymns William J. and Randy Peterson say regarding this hymn, “Headlines are filled with violence; hectic lifestyles frustrate and worry us; discouragements overwhelm us; loneliness causes heartache. But while problems are found in the first line of each stanza, there is one word that appears consistently in the second line – Jesus. His presence in our problems and heartaches makes all the difference. It seems ironic that this hymn on peace was the devotional for the day (in the One Year Book of Hymns) just prior to the terrorist attack on our nation, September 11, 2001.
Albert Edward Bailey in The Gospel in Hymns says the message of this hymn may be expressed as follows:
- Is it sin that wrecks our peace? The answer is, trust the Atonement.
- Is it the pressure of work? Then let your acts conform to His will.
- Is it sorrow? Take your sorrow to Jesus.
- Is it separation? Trust Him to keep your loved ones.
- Is it the unknown future? Trust the ruler of the universe.
- Is death staring you in the face? Remember Jesus’ resurrection.
Now we will emphasize each verse of Peace Perfect Peace with songs which express a similar thought. After each song title I have given the part of the verse that supports the idea. As you choose from the songs listed, you may sing the entire song or just the pertinent verse.
“Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.”
Where Could I Go? – “Living below in this old sinful world”
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us – “poor and sinful though we be”
A Blessing in Prayer – “atoning blood has been sprinkled there”
Nothing But the Blood – “nothing can for sin atone”
Prince of Peace! Control My Will – “Thou hast bought me with Thy blood”
Hallelujah What a Savior – “Full atonement can it be?”
“Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed? To do the will of Jesus – this is rest.”
Does Jesus Care – “as the burdens press”
A Charge To Keep I Have – “to do my Master’s will”
Go Labor On – “Thy joy to do the Master’s will”
In The Hush of Early Morning – “Thy will alone is mine”
Into the Heart of Jesus – “into the will of Jesus”
“Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round? On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.”
Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary – “Days are filled with sorrow and woe”
It Is Well With My Soul – “when sorrows like sea billows roll”
Jesus Calls Us – “In our joys and in our sorrows”
O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing – “the name that bids our sorrows cease”
Tell It to Jesus – “do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow”
Under His Wings – “what a refuge in sorrow”
I Am Bound for the Promised Land – “in His bosom rest”
Jesus, Lover of My Soul – “Let me to Thy bosom fly”
Flee As A Bird – “He on His bosom will bear thee”
Come Ye Disconsolate – “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal”
Out of My Bondage – “into Thy calm”
From Every Stormy Wind That Blows – “there is a calm”
“Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? In Jesus keeping we are safe and they.”
O Think of the Home Over There – “Many dear to my heart, over there”
Safe in the Arms of Jesus
In The Morning of Joy – “when our loved ones we meet”
Beyond the Sunset – “O glad reunion with our dear loved ones”
I Will Sing the Wondrous Story – “loved ones I shall meet”
We Shall See The King Someday – “There with all the loved ones”
There’s a Stranger at the Door – “He will keep you to the end”
Unto the Hills – “who keepeth thee”
When I See the Blood – “All who obey are safe from the storm”
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – “safe and secure”
Beneath the Cross of Jesus – “O safe and happy shelter”
I’ll Never Forsake My Lord – “I am safe from all harm”
Living By Faith – “from all harm safe”
“Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown? Jesus we know, and He is on the Throne.”
The Providence of God – “the future beckons”
My Jesus, as Thou Wilt – “each changing future scene, I trust with Thee”
Yes, for Me He Careth – “tho’ future plans are dim”
Jesus Knows and Cares – “He knows from His throne above”
More About Jesus – “on His throne”
“It is enough; earth’s struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus call us to heaven’s perfect peace.”
An Empty Mansion – “Here I labor and toil and look for a home”
Heaven Holds All To Me
Heaven Came Down – “I have a future in heaven for sure”
Sing to Me of Heaven – “Burdens will be lifted that are pressing”
Sermon in Song prepared by Paul Brown (1929-2017)