Posted by: rcottrill | February 5, 2014

When Love Shines In

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Words: Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck (b. Jan. 22, 1855; d. Mar. 27, 1934)
Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; d. Sept. 20, 1921)


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The mother of five children, Carrie Breck was a homemaker who wrote poetry in spare moments. She was not at all musical, but she had a clear sense of rhythm. The Cyber Hymnal lists 375 of her gospel song texts here. A better known one is Face to Face, but the present song, with its lively tune, deserves a place in our hymn books too.

This 1874 song provides a joyful testimony to the transforming power of the love of God. When we turn to the Word of God, we find God’s love–both in us and through us–to be a subject that is referred to again and again. Here is just a small sampling of many New Testament texts on the theme.

About God’s Love for Us. “Our God and Father…has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace” (II Thess. 2:16). “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “The kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared” (Tit. 3:4). “The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (Eph. 5:2).

About the Recognition of God’s Love. “We have known and believed the love that God has for us” (I Jn. 4:16). “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I Jn. 3:1). “[Nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39).

About the Sharing of God’s Love. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I Jn. 4:11). “This commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (I Jn. 4:21). “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him” (I Jn. 2:5). “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you” (I Thess. 3:12).

With our experience of the love of God comes great joy and rejoicing (CH-1). A sense of the love of God will stir us to pray, knowing that we come to a loving heavenly Father who wants only the best for us.

CH-1) Jesus comes with power to gladden, when love shines in,
Every life that woe can sadden, when love shines in.
Love will teach us how to pray, love will drive the gloom away,
Turn our darkness into day, when love shines in.

When love shines in, when love shines in,
How the heart is tuned to singing, when love shines in,
When love shines in, when love shines in,
Joy and peace to others bringing, when love shines in.

With our experience of the love of God comes a new and more positive perspective on life (CH-2 and 3). Tedious duties and painful trials take on a new luster when we trust that our loving Lord has a good purpose in them all (Rom. 8:28). Further, we see ourselves as the bearers of the light of love. To love others for Jesus’ sake is a continuing joy.

CH-2) How the world will grow with beauty, when love shines in,
And the heart rejoice in duty, when love shines in.
Trials may be sanctified, and the soul in peace abide,
Life will all be glorified, when love shines in.

CH-3) Darkest sorrow will grow brighter, when love shines in,
And the heaviest burden lighter, when love shines in.
’Tis the glory that will throw light to show us where to go;
O, the heart shall blessing know, when love shines in.

With our experience of the love of God comes eternal hope. Spiritual victories for today point us to the ultimate victory up ahead (CH-4). In the mind of the author, it is as though heaven has already begun for those who live in the light of God’s love.

CH-4) We may have unfading splendour, when love shines in,
And a friendship true and tender, when love shines in.
When earth’s vict’ries shall be won, and our life in heav’n begun,
There will be no need of sun, when love shines in.

1) What other blessings flow from the love of God?

2) What are your favourite hymns about the love of God?


Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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