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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
and through eternity I’ll sing on.
“What Wondrous Love Is This” (v. 4), American folk hymn
Hymn 215, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
In this hymn, I hear a haunting melody in a minor key, reminiscent of the Appalachian folk music tradition where so many of the stories in the lyrics seem to portray a close link between love and death.
This fourth verse speaks about that part of “wondrous love” that is present and active even in the midst of death. Even with the melancholic feel of the piece (and perhaps true to the time when it was written), the verse gives the impression that through this “wondrous love” we will be free from death, that there will be relief: “And when from death I’m free, . . . and through eternity, I’ll sing on.”
However, one of the messages of this verse—and the whole hymn actually—is that this wondrous love “sings on” even after death.
These also feel like gloomy times being sung in a minor key. Death, sometimes, feels oh so real in this day and age. But these are precisely the times when our faith tradition is calling on us to “sing on” beyond the death and gloom that surrounds us.
In hard times, perhaps the most faith-filled thing we can do is to find a way to “sing on” after our death. Leaving a legacy for the next generation is a great way to do that!
What is the song that you would like to make sure “sings on” after you are gone? Maybe that is your legacy.
After all, isn’t that what this Easter miracle we are soon to celebrate really is about—singing on beyond death?
God of wondrous love, may we always live in ways that ensure that our song will sing on long after we are gone. Amen.
Written by Stuart Jamieson, Major and Planned Giving Officer
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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