This weeks heart prep comes in the form of a hymn story. For confessional we will be singing “Abide With Me” in a particular arrangement Jeremy Walton turned me onto. (You can listen to that on the Spotify playlist HERE.)
The hymn, by Henry Lyte, was written when he was 54 after a lung condition he had developed into tuberculosis. He was a pastor and planned an extended vacation in Italy where he hoped to recover if he could. He wrote this song with some old notes just before and during his travels. He didn’t make it to his destination before his condition had escalated and his lungs gave out. This song was first sung at his funeral and has enriched the lives of many since 1847.
Abide With Me
Some lyrics take a much greater weight when we can see the context in which they were written. I believe you will find that to be true reading Lyte’s lyrics here:
“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide; When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see— O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour; What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r? Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness; Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies; Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me”
Lord may we, in the best and the worst of times, look to the cross held before us and be able to want nothing more than for you to abide with us. Give us peace and joy and rest as we look forward to gathering with your church to worship you. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
If you have any questions about the topic of worship or would like to learn how to get involved with the worship ministry of North Avenue Church you can email Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org.