Poetry in mission, music, and message
The powerful poetry in the hymn “Channels Only” was penned in 1900 by Mary Maxwell. The themes covered by her beautiful poetry were cleansing, consecration, and dedication of the believer to God. The hymn consists of five stanzas in 126.96.36.199 Meter and one refrain. Maxwell published it in Ada Rose Gibbs’ Twenty-Four Gems of Sacred Song. As time went by, her work has found its way onto 41 published hymnals. Channels are always a dedicated path which serves to carry a specific item to a specific place. The all-powerful God had a message, which He could have directly sent to his followers but instead, each one of His believers is a channel of his message. And the gist of His message is love and we are His messengers.
The composer of the tune also called “How I Praise Thee, Precious Saviour”, used to support Maxwell’s amazing rhymes is the gifted British singer Ada Rose Gibbs. The song is recommended to be played with energetic musical accompaniment and vocal harmony. Gibbs was a contralto (in classical music it is a vocal range which is the lowest for females) which she trained for five years at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She went on to sing at the City Temple, Holborn, London. She became a member of the Richard D’Oyly Carte Company in 1885. As a part of the group she performed the role of Katisha in “The Mikado”, Ruth in “The Pirates of Penzance”, Dame Carruthers in “The Yeomen of the Guard”, and Duchess of Plaza-Toro in “The Gondoliers”. For all the glamor of the stage, Gibbs decided to quit the company and worked with the Salvation Army. She joined Dwight Moody’s evangelistic missionary group and she married William Gibbs who at one time was the Superintendent of the Methodist Central Hall in Bromley, Kent.