While many of us have a favorite hymn from the beautifully inspired hymns of praise that have touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes, The Songs of Zion are unique to our Church. They are songs that belong to a new time; they belong to a new era; they belong to our people. They are songs sent from the throne of God as a gift to The Church of Jesus Christ. They are inspirational and related to Christ and His promises of the latter-day times and events. This gift was given to our late Sister Arlene Buffington, as our songs of hope and joy, looking forward to the fulfillment of the kingdom of Zion, bathed in the latter-day glory of the restoration.
For me, The Songs of Zion were always part of our Church. From the first day I visited the Church in 1980, I heard them sung! What a unique gift and blessing for our Church.
Let’s journey through a few of these songs and consider they’re meaning and application, because it’s too easy to sing without paying attention to the words and their meaning.
Let’s start with No. 27, “Sing Hallelujah” We read…
There is a Savior, they call Him Jesus. They say no other can save from sin.
Now He’s my father, my dearest brother, So step aside, world, and let my new friend in.
When I was drifting, He dropped the anchor, When I was outcast, He brought me in,
When I was sinking, He threw the lifeline. When I was dying, He let me live again.
When I was losing, He won the battle, When I was anxious, He calmed the fear.
When I cried, “Help me,” He reached to save me, When I had no one, I found this friend so dear.
So let me praise Him, for I adore Him. And I will sing it (oh yes!) forevermore.
Oh, hallelujah! Sing hallelujah! I found the lifeboat, praise God, I made the shore.
©1980 Arlene Lea Buffington
In the Hebrew text, Hallelujah is actually a two-word phrase, halelu-Yah, and not one word. Because of this, the English word Hallelujah isn’t literally found in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, but used primarily in the book of Psalms and translates to: Praise the Lord. It is an expression of joyous praise in song—of gratitude and adoration.
Rereading the verses, the first verse reminds us that we have a Savior in Jesus Christ. He’s our father, our brother, our friend, our everything! And the chorus encourages us to never forget it and never stop praising Him.
The second verse likens our lives without Christ to a sinking lost boat, drifting in the seas of life. But Jesus is there to rescue us (in this life and for all eternity). And the chorus reminds us to never forget it and never stop praising Him.
The third verse acknowledges that without Him, we fight battles we can’t win, and we’re overwhelmed with life’s fears. BUT when we reach out to Jesus, we find salvation, victory, and even friendship in Him! And the chorus reminds us to never forget it and never stop praising Him.
I find when singing this song, it’s hard to whisper it softly; it’s hard to not feel good; it’s hard NOT to have a smile on your face (or at least in your heart). It’s hard NOT to yell out “Oh yes!” because He is our lifeboat (our salvation). Rather than being lost at sea, we’re rescued from a life of loneliness, fear, and sin. Yes, this is a song of hope and acknowledgement that without Him we are lost, but by humbling ourselves and calling out to Him, Jesus is there to rescue us!
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Hebrews 6:19)
As King Benjamin so clearly said,
“And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4:11-12)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.