Summary: In life we all go through troubled times some of which can easily overwhelm us but we are reassured that we are never alone a promise encapsulated in the hymn, 'Abide with me.'
Abide with Me
Hymns play a very important part in our worship, by singing we in a sense give ourselves in praise and adoration to Almighty God.
For this to work there are a number of essential components, ingredients:
• The words, ideally based on Scripture and full of meaning
• The music which inspires and adds to the meaning of what we are trying to sing
• Being lead by a choir that is familiar with the hymn and emphasizes the meaning of the hymn
Abide with Me” is one of our best-loved hymns and is usually associated with funerals and Evensong.
It is a hymn we are all familiar with but is far more flexible in its use than just funerals and evensong – e.g. it was used in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
So what makes this hymn so popular?
The words, of course, have a lot to do with it. Each verse ends with the plea “abide with me,” making the hymn a sustained call for God’s personal presence in every stage and condition of life.
1. 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, oh, abide with me.
2. 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.
3. I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
4. 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.
5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
The hymn resonates deeply within the hearts of all those who feel their need for God:
• Help of the helpless, O abide with me. . . .
• Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
• In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
The hymn was written by Henry Francis Lyte, vicar of All Saints Church in Brixham, England.
For most of his life Henry Lyte suffered from poor health, and he would regularly travel abroad for relief, as was the tradition in that day.
He developed tuberculosis at the age of 54 and as he came near to the end of his life he decided to preach what became his last sermon.
That evening he placed in the hands of a near and dear relative this little hymn, ‘Abide with Me’
Then just weeks later, while recuperating on holiday in Nice, Henry Lyte died.
The words that make up this hymn can be so easily adapted for our own personal prayers.
Short but very direct prayers, Arrow prayers said from our hearts to the heart of God – a bull’s eye.
• When life gets difficult – O Lord Abide with me
• When sorrows overwhelm and life seems unbearable - O Lord Abide with me
• When the going gets tough – O Lord Abide with me
• When I’m lonely – O Lord Abide with me
• When I’m sick and in despair – O Lord Abide with me
• When evening comes and the night seems long – O Lord Abide with me
• Come, Friend of sinners, and thus Abide with me. . .
• When dying hold my hand and – Lord Abide with me
• In life and in death O Lord - Abide with me
Have you ever found a parking ticket on your car?
For years a man parked his car in a nearby alley close to his home, it had never had a ticket. So he thought, it must be OK.
One morning he found a parking ticket on his car and he wondered what was going on, so to play safe he decided to park his car elsewhere.
A few days later, during a terrible storm, the wind was so strong that a gigantic oak fell right across the place where he once parked his car.
Had his car still been there, it would have been smashed. - He humbly thanked God for that ticket!
So far 2020 has had a very unique and disturbing year – unique in that society has never been in a lockdown situation like this before and disturbing in that we don’t know where it’s going and when it will end.