Sunday, April 10, 2016

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Brighten the Corner Where You Are
By: Ina Duley Ogdon

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, do not wait to shed your lights afar; To the many duties ever near you now be true, brighten the corner where you are. 

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Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear, let no narrow self your way debar; Tho' into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer, brighten the corner where you are. 

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Here for all your talent you may surely find a need, here reflect the Bright and Morning Star. Even from your humble hand the bread of life may feed, brighten the corner where you are. 

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Brighten the corner where you are! Brighten the corner where you are! Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar, brighten the corner, where you are. 

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In August, 1874, a Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent organized a Sunday school training camp beside beautiful Lake Chautaugua in upstate New York. Families came for two-week summer camps that combined recreation, entertainment, and Sunday school training sessions. It was an enormous hit, and over the next several decades, the "Chautauqua Circuit" spread to other ares and quickly outgrew its Sunday school origins. Performers, musicians, lecturers, and motivational speakers traveled the country, staying about a week in these summer camps. Enormous audiences gathered to enjoy Broadway hits, popular plays, and stars from the Metropolitan Opera. Speakers like William Jennings Bryan dew thousands, and Theodore Roosevelt called the Chautauqua Circuit, "the most American thing in America." 
1912, Ina Duley Ogdon received an invitation to be a Chautauqua Circuit speaker. Having long felt God's calling on her life, she was tremendously excited by the possibilities of motivating thousands of people for the cause of Christ. But as she was packing for the tour, her father was seriously injured in a wreck in one of the new-fangled "horseless carriages." Ina, deeply distressed, cancelled her travel plans to care for him. 
Though bitterly disappointed, she was able to surrender the disappointment to God and trust His purposes. Making up her mind to be a blessing wherever she was, she concluded that even if she couldn't minister to thousands, she could be a blessing to one-her father-and to those around him. She sat down and wrote: 

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, / Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true, / Brighten the corner where you are. 

After this poem was set to music by Charles H. Gabriel, it was discovered by Homer Rodeheaver, the song director for Billy Sunday's evangelistic campaigns. He was so taken by the song that he made it the theme song of his ministry, and for twenty-two years, "Brighten the Corner" opened ever Billy Sunday meeting. In the process, it became one of gospel music's most popular and uplifting songs. Instead of speaking to thousands, Ina Duley Ogdon has ministered to millions. 

 Matthew 5:14
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
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 May your week be filled with the joy of the Saviour. 
Blessings in Christ,
Ashley 

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful story, and one that I can relate to. How many times, have I wished that I could have traveled in my days of youth, and been a missionary on a land far away from America. I am now older, and realize that there was so much more, regarding evangelism, that I could have done right here, in my little "corner", where I am. Souls all around us, dying, without a Savior, simply because we did not do as this beautiful song said, and "brighten the corner where you are." There are those that are sick, lonely, searching for happiness, not knowing that Jesus is the answer. We need to reach out, wherever we are, and do what Jesus has called us to do. "Brighten the corner where you are", are words that ALL of us, need to hear and obey. Thank you, Ashley, for these awesome words of inspiration!! Louise R.

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  2. From small beginnings, great things grow. We never know what a little comment or deed will grow into. Even though we are only little messengers for Christ, Christ is the message and He is the one who will bring forth the fruit from our small efforts. Loved the story of this hymn. Hugs.

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  3. I enjoy reading these histories of hymn writers, Ashley! :) Though I'm not sure I've ever sung this song before, it was applicable to my day!

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  4. Oh, wow! It seems I had heard this story before, but I had forgotten it. It is very encouraging to me now. Thank you for sharing it! Love and hugs to you.

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  5. This is so cool Ashley! I admire you researched all this to tell people! Thanks for this Ashley! :)

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    1. My pleasure Ellie. I'm glad you've been enjoying reading about the hymns. Thank you for commenting. :)
      Blessings in Christ,
      Ashley

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