This is the day that … Frederick Arvid Blom died in Sweden in 1927, at the age of 60.
Fredrick was born in Sweeden, May 21 1867 in Bred parish. In 1883 he took a degree in navigation and became a sailor. In 1902 he was declared “not found” in Sweeden – which suggests he absconded.
He spent some years in the Salvation Army in Chicago. He attended Bible College … and then pastored an evangelical church … until 1915. Then Mr Blom “fell deeply into sin and spent some years in prison.” His biographer does not reveal the details. Blom himself wrote: “I drifted from God … and became embittered with myself, the world, and not the least with ministers who looked upon me with suspicion because I was a member of the Socialist Party.”
Some time later Blom resumed his walk with God and pastored a Swedish Congregational Church in Pennsylvania until 1921. At that time he returned to Stockholm, Sweden and was active in ministry in the Swedish Covenant Church and the Swedish Baptist Church until his death six years later.
His well-known gospel song – popularised by George Beverly Shea some years ago – is:
He the pearly gates will open so that I may enter in …
One biographer tells us that it is generally believed Blom wrote this hymn either in prison or shortly after his release. Verse two may well reflect his own spiritual pilgrimage –
Like a sparrow, hunted, frightened, weak and helpless – so was I;
Wounded, fallen, yet He healed me – He will heed the sinner’s cry.