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Sunday, October 19, 2014

You have promised to receive us,
poor and sinful though we be;
you have mercy to relieve us,
grace to cleanse, and power to free.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
early let us turn to you.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
early let us turn to you.

Early let us seek your favor;
early let us do your will.
Blessed Lord and only Savior,
with your love our spirits fill.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
you have loved us; love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
you have loved us; love us still.

“Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” (tune: Bradbury)
from Thrupp’s Hymns for the Young
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

When I was in seminary, I developed a close group of friends unlike anything I had ever experienced before. We varied widely in age, life circumstance, background, and even—to some extent—in ideology. We had in common our time at seminary and our love for the life of faith, but otherwise we were pretty different. Despite these differences, we grew very close over the several years that we shared daily community together. I found myself, really for the first time in my life, trusting my friends enough to let them fully see me. Over time, they saw me at my best and my worst. They knew my prides and my embarrassments. They knew when to call me out and when to comfort me. And I knew them in those ways as well. I could trust these friends to know me deeply in all the ways I had been scared to be known, because I knew that deeper than anything else, they loved me.

This hymn reminds me that Jesus loves us deeper than anything and deeper than anyone else can. Jesus desires to know us—to know us fully—and we can trust him with that knowledge because there is no part of us that he does not love. That is the love in which all of our hope rests. It is the love that compels us to go into the world and live as Christ calls us. And because we know that Jesus feels that deep love not only for us, but for everyone, we can dare to love and know each other in that way as well. Indeed, what a love to let fill our spirits and to let fill this world!

Loving God, we give thanks for your Son who knows and loves us so very deeply. Fill our spirits with that love, that we may carry it out into your world and to each other. Amen.

Written by Layton Williams, Pastoral Resident

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