Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Where Could I Go? by David R. Kenney

The words and the music are credited to James B. Coats.  While he is credited with writing the lyrics to several hymns, it appears this is one of the few he wrote the music to as well. 
James Buchanan Coats (1901 - 1961), Lyricist & Composer
James B. Coates was born April 6, 1901 in Summerland, MS.  He studied at both Mississippi Southern College and Louisiana State University.  He taught public school and was a staff writer for the Stamps-Baxter Music Company.  He was a member of the Baptist Church serving for 30 years as their Deacon before going into preaching.  Some of his other hymns include I Love My Savior Too and I’m Winging My Way Back Home.  In 1940 he wrote Where Could I Go?  Interestingly, Linda Ronstadt and Emmy Lou Harris were able to record The Sweetest Gift which was a hit in 1976.  He wrote that song in 1942.  His wife’s name was Arline Valentine Coats (1/31/1899 – 7/12/1976) and had five sons and a daughter.  He died on December 15, 1961 and is buried in Coats Cemetery, Gitano, MS.  Words from this hymn are on his tombstone.  He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1992.
Where Could I Go?
Some people have riches while some are in poverty.  Some people have neighbors and some have friends.  There is only one friend who can help us with temptation and sin.  There is only one thing can provide manna for our souls.  That friend is Jesus Christ and the source of that manna is God’s Word.  A person can have no better friend than Jesus Christ.  No matter how strong our relationships are in this world, these will all come to an end at the tomb.  Our relationship with Jesus does not end at the tomb, and we can have the hope of a precious reunion with our friends and neighbors whom we have reached with the gospel.
In Romans 6:3-5 is states “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” (NKJV)  Jesus is present with us as we are united through baptism with His death, burial and resurrection; and He will be with us for our death, burial and resurrection too. 
When you are taking your lasts breaths, where will you go?  To whom shall you go?  Who else can save your soul?
V. E. Howard, Editor, and Broadus E. Smith, Associate Editor, Church Gospel Songs & Hymns, Texarkana, TX:  Central Printers & Publishers, 1983. 
John P. Wiegand, Editor, Praise for the Lord, Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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