Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hymn Of Healing

This is about one of the favorite songs we sang in worship when I was a boy- I wished we sang hymns like this on a more regular basis. It's from June 22, 2009.

One of the few disagreements I recall my parents having was over their preferences in church music. Mom liked upbeat gospel songs with choruses and Dad preferred the older hymns, many of which had no refrain. For example, Mom would have liked To Canaan's Land (I'm On My Way) while Dad would have selected Lead, Kindly Light. I would guess their likes were based on their upbringings in different parts of the country. On this issue, I fall into the Dad camp. The hymns I love, the ones I have my students memorize, have fallen out of usage in recent years, supplanted by more praise-type songs. Below are the words to one of my favorites that we often sang when I was a boy, At Even, When The Sun Was Set:

At even, when the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
O, with what divers pains they met!
O, with what joy they went away!

Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
Oppressed with various ills, draw near;

What if Thy form we cannot see?
We know and feel that Thou art here.

O Savior Christ, our woes dispel;
For some are sick, and some are sad;
And some have never loved Thee well,
And some have lost the love they had.

And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,
For none are wholly free from sin;
And they who fain would serve Thee best
Are conscious most of wrong within.

Thy touch has still its ancient power.
No word from Thee can fruitless fall;
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
And in Thy mercy heal us all.

Written by Englishman Henry Twells in 1868, the original contained eight verses. These five were the ones used in our hymnal. Twells wrote it while waiting for a very slow student to finish an exam, basing his thoughts on the story of Jesus healing the sick at the home of Peter. Here is that account in the fourth chapter of Luke, verse forty:
When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.

Two thousand years have not lessened the need for healing. I highlighted verse three as a microcosm of churches, even today. Our minister, David Yasko, is closing out a series of Sunday morning lessons on recovery. Yesterday, he spoke specifically on the reasons for relapse. In the middle of the sermon, David called one of our men to the pulpit. The brother, a recovering addict, gave his testimony of turning away from alcohol through the strength of the Lord. As we closed our service, we were told of the death of a beloved brother who was diagnosed with cancer and died within the week, leaving his precious wife, who has serious health issues, a widow. We found out that a wonderful Godly sister had just been placed in hospice care. During communion, former members who were visiting with us learned of the death of their one year old grandson. Have we ever needed the healing message of that hymn more than now? A number of years ago in Tennessee, I heard my minister say, "The church is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded." His point was that Christians have, at times, turned collective backs on brothers and sisters who desperately needed them. Jesus never did and that's why outcasts, as well as the sick, turned to Him as their only hope. That hasn't changed in two thousand years, either.
I pray that we can.

Applicable quote of the day:
"You know when you're young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future."
Andy Griffith

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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