Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day of Gratitude #2 – Hymns

(Facebook post Nov 2, 2013)

In my church, in any chapel throughout the world, you will find resting carefully in the benches and pews a little green book full of sacred hymns. These books are opened weekly and the members of my faith sing to open and close worships services. We sing on holidays. We sing to celebrate. We sing to mourn and we sing to inspire hope and faith. Sometimes we sign loudly and off tune (mostly I do that). If you are lucky it’s with piano but mostly it’s the organ and a brave person who stands in the front and waves their arms back and forth to lead the congregation. I find that tempo is critically important. Variety is nice but there is just something about singing the familiar songs of my faith surrounded by ordinary people who are just trying to slog it out form one week to next that makes things someone right and good. I’m pretty real with the fact that we don’t all have to believe in the same things and there are lots of aspects of my faith that are just plan weird…but the traditional practice of scared song can be agreed upon by many. These songs are normally not very exciting nor could you really dance to them…but these hymns are burned deeply in my heart and mind. I’ve been reminded as of late how grateful I am for these traditional songs of worship. They ring in my head and rattle inside my heart The texts of many song shape my view of the world and remind me how we should treat each other and how important it is to pick yourself up and keep going when life get tricky. Some of them I just love and to be honest there are others that I just can’t stomach. But they are a part of me and I am grateful for them and how they keep me on track, remind me what is important, and inspire me to be the better me. Here are the words of one of my all time favorites…

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy when you way.
Through hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
‘Tis better far for us to strive
our useless cares for us to drive; Do this and joy your hears will swell –
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
It we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

We’ll fine the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West.
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We’ll make the air with music ring
Shout praises to our God and King
Above the rest these words we’ll tell –
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through
Happy day! All is well!
When then are free from toil and sorrow, too:
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell –

All is well! All is well!

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