Composers Carrie E. Breck and Grant C. Tullar
Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face, what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory;
I shall see Him by and by!
Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a bless’d day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.
What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened
And the dark things shall be plain.
Face to face, oh, blissful moment!
Face to face, to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.
“Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
From very simple happenings around us people of God through out generations have spoken about a God who is continually working ‘behind the scenes’ to bring together people, circumstances and blessings. Such is the story of Carrie E. Breck (1855-1934) and Grant C. Tullar (1869-1950), and the beautiful song they penned, Face to Face
During a series of busy evangelistic meetings in 1898, several faithful and hungry workers were gathered in a pastor’s home to grab a snack between sessions. Among the crowd was musician Grant Tuller who was assisting the pastor in those revival meetings. They hurried to the home of the pastor, wanting to have tea together before going to the evangelistic meetings that were in progress.
In their hurry to get the table spread someone failed to fill the jam dish. There was only a small bite left. The pastor and his wife knew that Tullar was very fond of the jam, so they both refused it. As the dish was passed to him, he exclaimed, ‘So this is all for me, is it?’ Suddenly, the thought occurred to him that ‘All for Me’ was a good title for a song. The little bit of jam faded into insignificance as Tullar’s mind began to think on this new subject. He placed the jam dish back on the table and immediately excused himself, went to the piano and composed a melody and wrote several verses.
Before going to bed that evening, Tullar promised the pastor and his wife that he would revise the work somewhat. He never did, because the next morning the postman brought to him a letter from a lady, Mrs. Frank A. Beck, enclosed were several poems. After reading the very first poem, he became suddenly aware that it exactly fitted the music that he had written the night before. Not a single word of the poem nor his music needed to be changed. After that, he never used his own words, but decided to use those of Mrs. Beck for the song now titled, “Face To Face”.
Face to face with Christ my Saviour,
Face to face what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.
As for Mrs. Beck, she married and spent most of her life in Oregon. A devout Christian, she was devoted to her husband and five daughters. She had no sense of pitch, and could not carry a tune, but she had the gift of poetic rhythm, and wrote more than 2,000 poems. She was not particularly robust in health, and had to take frequent rests while doing chores. At such times, she would sit in her favourite rocking chair, take up a notebook, and write poetry, often with a baby on her knee, or playing at her feet.
This song has won the hearts of thousands of people around the world because it so wonderfully speaks of our anticipation in seeing Christ one day, face to face.
You may not be able to sing, but you may write and someone will write a tune and make a song out of your poems.
Some comments about the Face: The apostle Paul’s reminder to the Corinthian Christians (1 Cor. 13:12) is reflected in the words of the well-known hymn: “Face to face with Christ my Savior, face to face what will it be?” This question is especially meaningful because the face plays an important role in our everyday experiences. If we say that we wish to see someone “face to face,” we may mean that we desire to have a meeting with that person. We could also mean to have a “face to face” confrontation with that one. If we report that we said something “to his face,” we indicate that we spoke openly in that person’s presence.
The face can reveal many things concerning someone’s inner feelings. A “long face” betrays a sense of gloom, while a “shining face” displays a sense of happiness or contentment. If someone “puts on a bold face,” he attempts to appear confident. A “false face,” however, indicates an attempt to hide one’s feelings or opinions. To “make a face” at another can indicate contempt.
The face appears in many of our idioms. If we “face up” to a problem, we confront it in an effort to solve it. To “fly in the face” of prevailing opinion suggests a course of action contrary to an accepted policy, belief, or standard, while “setting one’s face against” someone indicates open defiance or determination to oppose that person. If we “show our face” at an event, we attend it or perhaps allow ourselves to be seen there. By doing so we may either “lose face” or “save face,” that is, we may lose or maintain our respect. An anonymous person at such an event, however, may be said to be “faceless.” The face can also be used for the surface of a thing such as a clock. The “face value” of a document or a coin is determined by what is written on it. Climbers at times scale the “sheer face” of an outcrop of rock. A king, queen, or jack in a deck of cards is called a “face card.” Even the sun is said to have a face and Keats spoke of “the nights’ starr’d face, huge cloudy symbols of a high romance.”
One of the most distinctive features of the face is the nose. A reporter who “has a nose for news” is able to track down the desired information. He may “ follow his nose” in gathering the details. A “nosey” person, however, pries into others’ affairs and is said to have “poked his nose” into them. A close victory can be expressed as “winning by a nose.” Those who pay an unreasonable price for something have “paid through the nose.” If we “count noses” we tally the number of people in attendance or who can be counted upon to support our position.
Something “under my nose” is in plain sight. Rude or tactless people can “rub someone’s nose in it” by reminding him of his mistakes. They may “look down their noses” in disdain while doing so. Some people may “have their nose out of joint” that is, be unduly displeased about something. Likewise someone can “cut off his nose to spite his face” by doing that which is injurious to his own welfare. To be “led by the nose” is to be dominated by someone else.
The nose’s sense of smell is also used figuratively such as in “smelling” danger or “smelling out” the facts in a given situation. It could be hoped that in using the sense of smell figuratively we would not mix our metaphors in doing so such as in the case of the British parliamentarian who remarked, “I smell a rat, I see it floating in the air, and I’ll nip it in the bud.” The wide use of facial features in figurative expressions should alert us to expect to find them in God’s communication to us. The Bible uses many of them.
But what shall it be to see Christ face to face?