Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Abide With Me

The first stanza of this hymn is the familiar plea of the believer to the Savior that He dwell with us and keep us safe. The other seven verses (for this hymn, like many, contains more stanzas than are included in the typical hymnal) expand on this idea.

Read these additional stanzas. They may not be familiar to you, but I hope their message is. Our life is but a vapor; it will not always be safe nor comfortable. Danger is often present, as is sorrow. Yet the One Great Constant in the lives of the saved is that the God of the universe has sent a Comforter to dwell—to abide—with us. When He is with us, there is nothing to fear, no danger too great, no sorrow too heavy.

The words to the hymn were written by Henry Lyte in 1847, just weeks before his death. Although he had a tune to which it was sung, the more familiar tune common to most hymnals was written by William H. Monk in 1861.

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

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