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.

According to Cyberhymnal, this hymn was written by Henry Lyte.

Lyte was in­spired to write this hymn as he was dy­ing of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis; he fin­ished it the Sun­day he gave his fare­well ser­mon in the par­ish he served so ma­ny years. The next day, he left for Ita­ly to re­gain his health. He didn’t make it, though—he died in Nice, France, three weeks af­ter writ­ing these words. Here is an ex­cerpt from his fare­well ser­mon:

O breth­ren, I stand here among you to­day, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to im­press it upon you, and in­duce you to pre­pare for that sol­emn hour which must come to all, by a time­ly ac­quaint­ance with the death of Christ.

For over a cen­tu­ry, the bells of his church at All Saints in Low­er Brix­ham, De­von­shire, have rung out “Abide with Me” daily. The hymn was sung at the wed­ding of King George VI, at the wed­ding of his daugh­ter, the fu­ture Queen Eliz­a­beth II, and at the funeral of Nobel peace prize winner Mother Teresa of Calcutta in1997.

Reading about Mr. Lyte got me to  thinking.  He was dying of tuberdculosis.  But he was so focused on God that all he could do was write one of the great Christian hymns of the faith.

Let’s admit it, we’ve got it pretty cushy these days.  Cushy enough that we differentiate first world and third world problems.  Most of ours are first world problems aren’t they?

Yes, we face saddness and dealth and pain and those can rip us apart, can’t they?  But having to spend 40 minutes on a the phone with a tech because you can’t get into your dashboard to write a blog post for your 31 days series.  Not really magnormous is it?

I was telling Shane the other day, sometimes I wish we had a horse and buggy instead of a car.  Cars and technology make life difficult so often when tehy don’t work.  But what about all the days when they do work. 

I really don’t want a horse and buggy.

I want a carefree life.

That’s just not gonna happen.

But whatever struggles, whether first or third world we have, they are our struggles and they are no less important than any other struggles that people have had in the past. 

Isn’t it wonderful that Christ can abide with us, beside us always?

Time

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