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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 29, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Here might I stay and sing, no story so divine:
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.
This is my Friend, in whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

“My Song Is Love Unknown” (v. 5) by Samuel Crossman
Hymn 209, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Many years ago, I had an off-the-cuff conversation with an older woman about our visions of heaven. It was like a brainstorming session on what the hereafter might look like. One vision involved joining a massive choir, eternally engaged in singing praises through hymns—and preferably the old hymns, we laughed, whose words we recognized.

I hold onto that mental picture of an eternal choir, because one part of my religious expression involves stepping away from the noise of the world and experiencing wonder and awe at God’s creation and at the story of salvation. As this hymn’s first two and final two lines say:

“Here might I stay and sing | no story so divine;
This is my Friend, in whose sweet praise | I all my days could gladly spend.”

Stopping, and staying, and praising is natural to us as believers, and I’d like to think that our busy, distracting, challenging world does not prevent us from being swept up in praise. But then there are the two middle lines of this verse:

“Never was love, dear King, | never was grief like thine.”

And this takes me to back into our noisy world, and the fact that even God incarnate did not ask to be spared the human experiences of heights and depths. Not only did Jesus feel the sorrows, joys, and love of humanity, but he sacrificed his life, lovingly, on all humankind’s behalf. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” said the prophet Isaiah in chapter 53, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Before the time that we cast our crowns before thee, Lord, may we strive to comprehend, and work to express here and now, your sacrificial message of love, which you delivered as a saving grace for all humankind. Amen.

Written by Sarah Forbes Orwig, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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