If Christ comes back in winter, when earth lies cold and pale,
Will He find pilgrims watching, or will our hearts’ love fail?
O hail our King in white!
He comes from heaven to save us from tribulation’s night.
If Christ comes back in springtime, when burst the buds leaf green,
He will gather up His garlands, God’s saints, from earth’s dark scene.
O hail our Bridegroom-King!
He comes His Bride to rapture: how can we help but sing?
If Christ comes back in summer, when shines the orange sun,
Will He find Christians toiling in love, with hearts as one?
O hail our great Sun-King,
With healing splendor rising to draw us to His wing!
If Christ comes back in autumn when glow the fields with gold,
He will reap with joy His wheat sheaves which He did plant of old.
O hail! Our Lord shall come
To gather in His loved ones and shout His “Harvest Home!”
Arthur L. Farstad (1935-1998)
A friend of Art Farstad’s once suggested that he write a hymn about Christ’s second coming, centering each verse around one of the four seasons. The inspiration for this suggestion was Art’s admiration of a second-coming hymn by Lewis Sperry Chafer, “If the Lord My Savior Comes,” in which each verse focuses on a different time of day that our Lord might return.
Art accepted his friend’s challenge, and the result is “Seasons of Rapture.” Artist that he was, Art not only spotlighted a different season in each verse, but also used a color theme associated with the season in question to make the poem’s imagery more vivid.
Art considered the songs used in a church meeting extremely important, and was always concerned that a hymn or spiritual song has its roots in the Scriptures. The scriptural basis for both Art’s and Chafer’s belief in the literal return of Christ for His Church is most clearly and concisely set forth in 1 Thess 4:13-18. Art’s love for, and intimate knowledge of, God’s Word was also surely responsible for three scriptural allusions in “Seasons of Rapture.” The first stanza’s association of our Lord with the color white is likely drawn from the description of Christ’s clothing in the gospel passages reporting the Transfiguration (Matt 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29), and from the description in Rev 1:14: “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow…” The third stanza’s reference to the “great Sun King with healing splendor rising to draw us to His wing,” is clearly based on Mal 4:2: “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings…” And the fourth stanza’s likening of the church to a field of ripened wheat ready for harvest is surely an allusion to Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares related in Matt 13:25-30; 36-43.
“Seasons of Rapture,” published by Singspiration in 1970, was set to music by contemporary Christian composer Don Wyrtzen. Wyrtzen’s lovely haunting melody is in a minor key and has the flavor of an English folk tune. Using the composer’s suggested option of making the final chord major gives the song a triumphant finishing sound to match the thrilling picture of the Lord shouting His “harvest home” as He gathers to Himself all those who have become His children because of their faith in Jesus Christ as their guarantor of eternal life.
I shall always count the privilege of knowing Art as one of God’s greatest blessings to me. I shall also rejoice that, according to 1 Thess 4:16, Art will be in the first group of saints to hear and respond (and what a response–;rising from the dead!) as the Lord Himself “shouts His harvest home.”