Sunday, July 06, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "My Faith Looks up to Thee"

Ray Palmer, a nineteenth century teacher, pastor and writer, wrote this week's hymn, shortly after graduating from Yale University, after receiving a vision of Christ. He carried the words that he'd penned around with him for two years, before meeting Lowell Mason, who asked him if he had any hymns to include in a compilation that he was creating. Palmer gave Mason the words that he'd written, and he set them to music. Mason told Palmer that he'd do many good things in his life, but he'd be remembered best for writing this hymn.

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine!

 May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee,
Pure warm, and changeless be, a living fire!

 While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread, be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.

 When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!

Ray Palmer

The words of this hymn just resonate with me. There's so much of the Christian experience here: looking to the cross where Jesus died to remind us of our salvation, totally surrendering ourselves to Him, looking to God as our strength and inspiration. Here, our hymnwriter uses four short verses to articulate the depth of life in Christ: that our God is a pure, changeless, living fire; that He is with us even in our darkest days, and that when this life is over, He carries us on to glory.

Be blessed and shine looking to Jesus!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23