- Jesse is literally days away from finishing seminary
- Raya is transitioning from her crib to a “big bed” with varying levels of success
- I’m sick of winter
- Oh, and we have another baby on the way. Due to arrive sometime around the first of June. We got to see the little one on Monday. And no, we did not find out if it’s a boy or a girl. Hooray for new babies! 🙂
Text: Thomas Obediah Chisholm, 1923
Tune: FAITHFULNESS, William Marion Runyan, 1923
From Praise! Our Songs and Hymns, 1979
Last week we buried a very dear friend and member of our congregation. We sang this song at her funeral and I’ve been thinking lately about the power of singing together as a congregation. When someone dies, we ask why and why now and why her… but we sing a song like Great is Thy Faithfulness when we gather to remember her. We might not really feel the truth of the words, but we know that they are true. Singing a familiar, favorite song in the presence of others can bring comfort, assurance and hope.
Last night, this woman’s daughter came to our worship band rehearsal and was struggling to hold back tears the whole evening. The pain of her loss was palpable in the room and singing along was not easy for her. We can’t always get the words out when we most need to hear them. The songs we sing from our deepest hurting places do not sound beautiful. They are sung with wavering voices, choked out through tears as we desperately hope and pray that the words are true But it is at these times most of all that we need to be reminded that God does not change. He does not turn from us. He never wavers in his promises and he is always faithful. It is also at these times that the rest of the community can lend their voices to those hurting the most and carry the tune with confidence until they are ready to sing again.
If you are doubting God’s faithfulness today, I hope the words of this beloved hymn will remind you of truths that are hard to believe right now. If you are confident in His faithfulness today, look around you. You might see someone who needs you to sing with them through their night until the sun rises again with renewed mercies and hope in our unchanging Lord.
Text: Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874
Tune: CRUCIFIX, traditional Greek melody
from The Christian Life Hymnal, 2006
I love the first day of a new resolution. As a student, I would begin the first day of every semester with a new assignment book and a vow that I would read all my assignments a week ahead of time, start each paper long before the due date, and keep up with all of the assigned reading. I thoroughly enjoy shopping the aisles of the fabric store, choosing just the right colors of yarn and sizes of knitting needles to make that perfect scarf or pair of mittens.
But do you know how many times in my 20 years of being a student that I actually kept up with assigned reading the whole semester? Zero. And do you know how many single, thumbless mittens and six-inch scarves I have in my knitting basket? Certainly more than I have finished. Even this new year hymn, which I had every intention of posting on January 1st, has been collecting dust in my drafts folder for a week – next to two Christmas posts that I might get around to finishing next Christmas. The funny thing is, I always think I can do it. Every time I make these lists and goals, I truly believe this will be the year that I will finally follow through on all the things I hope to accomplish.
I was glad when I found this hymn for the new year in one of my hymnals. It’s the only one in the “New Year” section, and I like its focus. Instead of resolutions about exercise or eating better or keeping the house more clean and organized, this hymn focuses on the Father, his unwavering presence, his mercy and faithfulness. I have no idea what this new year will bring, and I have a list of 2014 goals and resolutions that will likely join the graveyard of well-meant but unrealistic resolutions by December 31. But along with my list this year, I’m hoping to keep the sentiment of this hymn in mind. It’s only because God sustains me, gives me life, and gives me opportunities to learn and grow that I accomplish anything at all. So, here’s to another year of trusting, of praising God and finding Him faithful. With my track record, I am thankful that I can count on Him. Happy New Year, friends!