Saturday, August 4, 2012

Abide With Me; Fast Falls the Eventide

This has become one of my favorite hymns.  It is simply beautiful.  Normally thought of as evening hymn, this song goes well beyond that.  It speaks to life, to death, His resurrection, and our resurrection with Him.  In life and in death, He abides with us.   It is He that help of helpless.  He does not change.  Fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens, however our Father abides with us. This is a hymn of tremendous comfort.

A great discussion with Pr. Todd Wilken and Dr. Arthur aired on Issues, Etc. recently, as they commented on the history and some of the theological implications of the hymn.  I highly recommend listening to it.

Abide With Me; Fast Falls the Eventide

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.

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.

-Henry Lyte

Lyte wrote the poem in 1847 and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he died only three weeks after composing the hymn.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:23-26 ESV)