Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 92: Abide with Me

This is one of my favorite hymns in our hymnbook (It is hymn 166), but I knew that it had an earlier history than just the LDS collection of hymns. The first LDS hymnbook was written and collected in 1835 or thereabouts and revised until our copy in 1985, which we still use today. Anyway, I love this hymn and now that I know the history behind it, it makes it even more moving. Henry Francis Lyte, the composer, was a minister who worked tirelessly for his parish and family. In 1844 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and when he gave his farewell sermon in 1847, that would be the last time he would see his parish congregation. That same afternoon, he wrote the first copy of the song, and then went on a trip to Italy to regain his health. While there he sent a revised copy to his wife, and a few days later he was gone. While this song has been a favorite throughout the Christian world, for me it tells us of the love of God, His mercy and need we have for God in our lives. He is my stay, my rock and my Redeemer, and He will take care of us if we keep Him with us in our hearts and in our daily lives.

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, O abide with me.

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.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

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