Martha Butler does not consider herself a composer, yet she wrote the popular worship song, Alleluia, He is Coming. Here’s how it happened.
When asked about what inspired the hymn, Martha said, “I had been reading the Bible as part of a devotional lesson. The passage was “Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). She was mystified as to why the church had selected such a mundane statement to be an inspirational message and asked God to speak to her. Later that day, she said, “as the verse kept running through my mind, I wrote some phrases in a process I refer to as an exercise in imagination.”
Martha recalled, “I felt this feeling of anticipation that the crowd must have felt while waiting for Jesus to arrive and preach. As I prepared to attend a Saturday evening worship service, this feeling of expectation grew.” She remembers that at the service she could hear the words and melody and a voice telling her to stand up and sing. “Shyness and the remembered words of my mother that I ‘could not carry a tune in a bucket’ prevented me from following the directions of the voice,” Martha laughingly declared. “I realized later that I have perfect pitch and it was really my mother who could not carry a tune!”
Martha told her husband and two dearest friends of this event and her hesitation to sing. Encouraged by their support, Martha, along with her friends, sang this beautiful new melody at the next Saturday evening worship and “we were amazed that by the second chorus, the entire congregation was singing.”
I love this song which we sing on Via de Cristo weekends, and I thought it would be appropriate to share right before Easter.