A Hymn for Packing Fruit (Among Other Things)

Feb 13, 2024

The Love of God was mostly written by German-born Frederick M. Lehman who first met the Lord in Iowa, where he spent most of his childhood.

Lehman’s career spanned from being a pastor and businessman to working at a California packing house.

One day while packing oranges and lemons, he began to write a hymn in his mind beginning with the words, "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell . . ."

After two stanzas and a refrain, he was at a loss for words until he returned home to compose the melody.

Remembering a poem he had previously recorded on a small card he was using as a bookmark, he pulled the card out and realized the poem fit perfectly as a third stanza.

It began, "Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the sky of parchment made . . . "

Then he saw the note written beneath the poem:

“These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love.

Whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. After he passed away, the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words and one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved."

The name of the prisoner was never discovered, but historians later found that it was originally a Hebrew poem composed by a Jewish rabbi living in Germany around the year 1,000 A.D.

So next time you're packing fruit at a packing plant or for lunch (or doing anything at all for that matter), remember there's a hymn for that. 

It's always a good time to think about God's love and how it's so big and amazing, it can never all be written down.

The Love of God

by Frederick Lehman


The love of God is greater far
than tongue or pen can ever tell;
it goes beyond the highest star,
and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
the saints’ and angels’ song.

When ancient time shall pass away,
and human thrones and kingdoms fall;
when those who here refuse to pray
on rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
the saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were every stalk on earth a quill,
and everyone a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky.

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