Sunday, September 14, 2014

Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies (Strength in Hymn)

“Christ, Whose Glory 
Fills the Skies”
Charles Wesley, 1740

Christ, whose glory fills the skies
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near,
Daystar, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return,
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see,
Till Thou inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

"You know what I always do when I walk into your house at sunset," I reminded my friend Judy as I set down my plate of egg rolls yet to be warmed for the Ladies' Night In. "I'll be back in a few minutes." 

I slipped out the back door. I can't help it. There is just something about sunset and clouds over Lake Bell. Something about clusters of exotic flowers.

There is also something about being with women who love Jesus. We gathered in the living room, plates and cups in hand, a feast for body and soul. Eleven us, not all knowing each other yet, sharing stories. 

These women have seen the world. Many of them have been long-time missionaries in Third World nations, two of them are professional counselors, and one interviews families with very ill children. About half are married, the others single. Some are sad at their now empty nests or ones that never filled in the first place. Some, like me, are still trying to juggle a hot mess of kids at home while working part-time. There is no sugar coating life for these women. They could easily be overwhelmed with "the gloom of sin and grief." Yet they spoke of their abiding love for Jesus and how he has changed their lives, of Christ-filled mentors who helped launch their faith journeys. They prayed for those among them who are struggling. "Scatter all my unbelief" is what he did on a balmy September evening in Judy's living room. 

At sunset over Lake Bell, his glory filled the skies. By the time we left, long after darkness fell deep outside, the light of his glory had filled our hearts.

Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near,
Daystar, in my heart appear.

I looked at several videos of this hymn with various tunes and settings. Here is one newer arrangement I particularly liked, with music by Matt Foreman...

This post is among several dozen in my Strength in Hymn series.

More photos and inspiration from Judy's...
Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

Monday, September 1, 2014

Take Us on the Quest of Beauty (Strength in Hymn)

"Take Us on the Quest of Beauty"
Eleanor B. Stock

Take us on the Quest of Beauty,
Poet, Seer of Galilee
Making all our dreams creative
Through their fellowship with Thee.


Take us on the Quest of Knowledge
Clearest Thinker man has known!
Make our minds sincere and patient
Satisfied by Truth alone.

Take us on the Quest of Service
Kingly Servant of man’s needs
Let us work with Thee for others
Anywhere Thy purpose leads.

All along our Quest’s far pathways
Christ our Leader and our Guide
Make us conscious of Thy presence
Walking always at our side.

Beauty, knowledge, service - what a life! Such a far cry from so much of what passes for evangelical Christianity. I hate hype and hypocrisy, and tend to distrust anything that smacks of celebrity. I want authentic, intelligent, creative, calm, and compassionate. I want whatever has the real Jesus walking and talking within it. Let our dreams mingle with him, meditate and muse on him, and we too shall be poets and seers, truth tellers and servants of humankind for the gospel. This is the Grand Adventure. This is the Quest of Beauty, Truth, Service, and Jesus.

I love these obscure vintage hymns, this one another serendipitous discovery on my browse through the Brethren hymnal, one of many that I inherited from my grandmother. My other favorite "beauty" hymn is actually the most popular one in my Strength in Hymn series: Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me

The photos? They were taken at Lake Johnson in Raleigh, North Carolina, while I was visiting my sweet cousin Jean. (See here for more pictures from the same set: A Raleigh Good Time.) Jean embodies the ideals of this hymn, and it's good to walk this quest of life with her friendship and prayers and example to cheer me along the way. I am so grateful for all of my family and friends who do the same! 

Virginia Knowles