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Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

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Wikipedia article

{{Infobox musical composition

| name = Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

| type =

| image = AJ_Showalter.jpg

| alt =

| caption = A. J. Showalter

| translation =

| native_name =

| native_name_lang =

| composer = Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha Hoffman

| genre = Hymn

| occasion =

| text =

| language =

| written = 1887

| based_on =

| meter = with refrain

| melody = Anthony J. Showalter

| composed =

| published =

| misc =


'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms' is a hymn published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman.

Showalter said that he received letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. When writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in the Book of Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms".p.122 Morgan, Robert J. 'Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns' Revell, 2010


Showalter wrote the lyrics to the refrain in Hartselle, Alabama and asked Hoffman to write the remaining lyrics.

:What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms;

:What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms.


:Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;

:Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

:O how sweet to walk, In this pilgrim way,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms;

:O how bright the path grows from day to day,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms.


:What have I to dread, what have I to fear,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms;

:I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

:Leaning on the everlasting arms.


;Alternate version

There is an alternate version of the refrain, typically sung by basses:

:Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms;

:Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms.


It has been performed and recorded by such artists as Norbert Susemihl, Iris DeMent, George Jones, Mahalia Jackson, Twila Paris and Selah.

Alan Jackson included it in his 2006 live gospel album 'Precious Memories'.

Playing for Change has a [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9YvB9FmR3E&list=RDi9YvB9FmR3E version] with multiple musicians including Dr. John.

mewithoutyou uses the lyrics from the 3rd stanza and part of the 2nd in their song Watermelon Ascot from their 'Pale Horses' album.

The Carter Family performed the hymn during their time on Mexican Radio Stations in the late 1930s and early 1940s. One version can be found on YouTube.

Brian Fallon included it in his 2021 studio album 'Night Divine'.

In popular culture

The song has been used in several movies, including 'The Human Comedy' (1943), Native Son (1950), 'The Night of the Hunter' (1955), 'Phase IV' (1974), 'Wild Bill' (1995), 'Next of Kin' (1989), 'True Grit' (2010) (of which it forms about a quarter of the score) and 'First Reformed' (2017).

In television, it was used in the 'Dollhouse' season one episode "True Believer". It was also used in the 'House of Cards' episode "Chapter 42" (season 4, episode 3), in the 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit' episode "Pattern Seventeen" (season 16, episode 9), in Justified (season 4, episode 5, "Kin") and in 'The Simpsons' season 25, Episode 22 - "The Yellow Badge of Cowardge." It was also sung in the episode of The Andy Griffith Show "Mountain Wedding" during the wedding scene.

It was also used in a Guinness Beer commercial titled "Empty Chair" which was produced by Human Worldwide Inc. and in a 2014 Sainsbury's ad regarding the World War I "Christmas Truce" of 1914.


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