The church is quiet now, the choir loft empty and the musicians gone from the stage. But the words remain. They are words penned by brothers and sisters, yours and mine, who lived long before any of us were born. Words lifted from the pages of scripture, often during times of great suffering. Sometimes the words seem a bit archaic, but they have never lost their power.
For many years they were the songs that connected the generations. Grandparents handed them down to their children, who in turn handed them down to theirs. We sang them accompanied by organ or piano - belting out deep foundational truths. Effortlessly whole sermons were delivered and received by hearts in need of comfort, hope, joy, faith, healing, salvation.
When we sang those hymns this weekend, all the generations together, we were drawn to our feet and the tears rolled down smooth and wrinkled cheeks alike. The huge room was silent, the liquid notes of "Nearer My God To Thee" falling from a violin. Hands and feet kept time to "Praise Him, Praise Him; Jesus our blessed Redeemer." The sweet children voices sang, "Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee."
We are living in difficult times. Something as simple as listening to the news can bring fear and discouragement to the staunchest of hearts. There are, seemingly, a good many reasons to despair. I've felt a little of that in recent weeks.
The third verse of that old hymn, "This Is My Father's World, goes like this:
"This is my Father's world,
Oh let me ne'er forget.
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet."
The Spirit took those words and wove them over and through all the worries and fears - reminding me of a truth sometimes overshadowed by circumstances. We have a Father who is in control of all things - not just some things - all things. We can safely rest in Him no matter what is going on around us. He is stronger than anything that can possibly come against us. He is the Ruler yet. The words sit comfortably in my heart.