A letter to Gillis

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I received a letter from Rev. James A. Langley of Washington, DC, who graduated from Opelika High School in 1943. He was writing in response to a recent column about how people attending the Broadway play, “A Trip to Bounty,” are singing along with the cast on the hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”

Rev. Langley, a retired Baptist minister, writes that “you may be interested to know that “Blessed Assurance” is still widely sung. The author of that text, Fannie J.Crosby, was a prolific hymn writer;  this is one of her most beloved hymns. The very singable music was composed by Phoebe P. Knapp.”

Rev. Langley was born and raised in Opelika, and still has classmates from those days living in or near Opelika, including Frank Morris, Jim Turner, Beverley Collins and Doug Vaughan.

Rev. Langley enclosed a copy of one of the hymns he has written titled “This Is Our Calling,” which can be sung to the same Assurance tune.

He said the opening stanza sets the stage,proclaiming basic interpretations of the Christian Gospel. Stanzas two, three and four are based on the great text, Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness [or mercy], and to walk humbly with your God?”

He said President Theodore Roosevelt stated his belief that Micah 6:8 “contains in essence the whole of the Bible.” Whether or not one gives this passage such magisterial weight, he said, it is a truly remarkable summation of what God requires.

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