Back in November, I discovered a poem in my daily devotional by William Jay (published in 1828) called “Though Dwelling With Strangers Around” . The words were so powerful, I decided to see if anyone had ever put it to music. To my surprise, I found nothing; this wonderful poem had simply faded into obscurity. So taking a cue from the Indelible Grace project (www.igracemusic.com), I decided to write my own tune, in the hopes that more people could appreciate these amazing lyrics.

Rusty old machine

Wall with flowers

Around the same time, I began to develop an idea for a video that I could use to share the song on YouTube. My idea was to use still shots that thematically matched the verses (which are about life in this world) and the choruses (which point us to the hope of heaven in Christ). So I began taking taking my digital camera to work with me, and every morning finding new and interesting material shots to use with the video. And in the process, I ended up taking a handful of really artistic shots that have sparked a deeper interest in photography.

Pipes in grass

Shining decrepid wall

The final video (which you can watch here ) is a collection of images and words which I hope will point you to God. I am not a great singer, and the recording is very simple (just me and my guitar), but I hope that you will still be able to appreciate the depth and beauty of Jay’s words.

-Mike

Though Dwelling With Strangers Around
by William Jay, 1828
Alt. Mike Costanzo, 2007

Though dwelling with strangers around, and foreign and weary the land,
I homeward to Zion am bound–the day of release is at hand.
Then Mesech and Kedar farewell, to enter my welcome abode;
With friends and with angels to dwell, with Jesus, my Savior and God.

Though constantly summoned to arms, and legions against me combine,
I’m calm in the midst of alarms, my weapons and cause are divine.
A captain almighty I own; and bannered by faith in his name,
I shout, ere the battle is won–I more than a conqueror am!

CHORUS:
The crooked shall all be made straight, the darkness shall beam into light;
I have but a moment to wait, and faith shall be changed into sight.

If weeping and fearing, I pass through changes in state and in frame;
Yet constant in power and grace, my Savior is always the same.
No shadow of turning he knows, whose bliss is the fountain of mine;
And while his eternity flows, my happiness cannot decline.

Perplexings though often I feel, and mazy the paths that I tread,
My God has been leading me still, and still he has promised to lead.
The crooked shall all be made straight, the darkness shall beam into light;
I have but a moment to wait, and faith shall be changed into sight.