One thing hymns do so well is remind us of our mortality. A lifetime of singing lyrics that regularly refer to death prepares us for that one moment from which we can’t escape.
Yesterday I knew that our friend Dean’s life was hanging in the balance. After a long bout with congestive heart failure, he had had a heart attack. His daughter wrote me that the next 24 hours would be vital. As I sung yesterday’s hymns my heart prayed for Dean and for his family.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace. (from Amazing Grace)
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die (from There Is a Fountain)
Be near when I am dying,
O show my cross to me;
And for my succor flying,
Come, Lord, to set me free:
These eyes, new faith receiving,
From Jesus shall not move;
For he who dies believing
Dies safely, through thy love. (from O Sacred Head)
We arrived home late, after a long day unplugged from technology and plugged into friendships. I checked my messages to find out that Dean had died a few hours before.
Sitting on my desk is a sticky note reminding me to send a card. It says “Dean – Even down to old age.” Today he is in glory — doesn’t need encouragement.
Even down to old age all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love.
(from How Firm a Foundation)
Praying for the repose of Dean’s soul and for his family and friends in their combination of grief in missing him and faith-filled foundation knowing he is “in glory.” Hymns are such a comfort. I feel like God is hugging us as we sing. love and prayers, jep
Thanks, jep. Hymns are a HUGE comfort. I think music can get deep into the cracks of our inner being and do some real healing.
Have you heard/seen IlDivo singing Amazing Grace?… My husband used part of their rendition when he preached about God’s grace which is truly amazing. At my darling Mummas funeral June last year, we sang part of Great is Thy faithfulness & It Is Well With my Soul, mother’s “special” hymns. We knew she was indeed “well”. While we were/are in grief these hymns comforted us. Trust you’re resting on the everlasting Arms.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness was my mom’s favorite hymn, too. I can’t sing it without thinking of her!