Words & Music by: James M. Black (1856-1938) in 1893
In 1893, James Black was doing the roll call for his Sunday school. Young Bessie, daughter of a drunkard, did not show up, and he was disappointed at her failure to appear. Black made a comment to the effect, “Well, I trust when the roll is called up yonder, she’ll be there.” He tried to respond with an appropriate song, but could not find one in his songbook: “This lack of a fitting song caused me both sorrow and disappointment. An inner voice seemed to say, “Why don’t you write one?” I put away the thought. As I opened the gate on my way home, the dame thought came again so strongly that tears filled my eyes. I entered the house and sat down at the piano. The words came to me effortlessly. The tune came the same way I dared not change a single note of word.”
Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy, William L. Simon, editor. Montreal, QC: The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd, 1975.
Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1969.
James M. Black (1856-1938)
LYRICS: When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
1. When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
When the roll, is called up yon-der, When the roll, is called up yon-der, When the roll, is called up yon-der, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.
2. On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, And the glory of His resurrection share; When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
3. Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care; Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.