Posted by: rcottrill | April 30, 2014

Here, O My Lord, I See Thee

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3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.

Words: Horatius Bonar (b. Dec. 19, 1808; d. July 31, 1889)
Music: Morecambe, by Frederick Cook Atkinson (b. Aug. 21, 1841; d. Nov. 30, 1896)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Bonar’s original had ten stanzas. Hymn books now select four or five of these for modern use, though all are worthy of our meditation. One book uses: CH-1, 3, 4, 6, and 7, another has: CH-1, 3, 2, 7 and 8. The Cyber Hymnal lists several possible tunes for this hymn. I prefer Morecambe (which is also used for Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart).

T he resurrection of Christ was something His followers struggled to believe. Thomas declared, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25). And the Lord graciously provided him with the opportunity to do just that (vs. 27). But that was followed by this gentle rebuke:

“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29).

Those who have not see–that certainly includes each of us. We were not privileged, as the disciples were, to see the risen Christ, to be taught by Him after the resurrection, for forty wonderful days, receiving “many infallible proofs” that He was indeed alive (Acts 1:3). We participate now in the reality of these things through our study and meditation upon the written Word, and we “see” Him today, only with the eyes of faith.

Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8).

One day, “we shall see Him as He is” (I Jn. 3:2). One day, either by death, or by the rapture of the church, we shall “depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23), and “always be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:17), worshiping and rejoicing in His physical presence. But for now, we see Him but dimly.

The disciples gathered for the Passover meal, and He was there. They talked with Him, and He with them. Now, in the Lord’s Supper, inaugurated at that time (I Cor. 11:23-26), He is present still (Matt. 18:20; 28:20), but it is an invisible, spiritual presence. Real, yet undetected by our senses. We can only pray that the Spirit of God will enlighten our souls to perceive Him in a new way as we gather at His Table. And that is the prayer of this wonderful hymn.

CH-1) Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.

CH-2) This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heavenly table spread for me;
Here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong
The hallowed hour of fellowship with Thee.

As we gather at the Table of the Lord, we sense our own weakness and inadequacy. At the same time, we rejoice in Christ’s abundant sufficiency.

CH-4) I have no help but Thine; nor do I need
Another arm save Thine to lean upon;
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone.

CH-5) I have no wisdom save in Him who is
My Wisdom and my Teacher both in One;
No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise;
No teaching do I crave save Thine alone.

And at the Table we confess our sinfulness. The reason the Saviour came is to pay our debt of sin (I Cor. 15:3). His sacrifice was sufficient payment for all the sins of all men, for all time (I Jn. 2:2). And through faith in Him, at conversion, a divine transfer takes place. Our debt of sin is charged to His account, and His righteousness is credited to ours (II Cor. 5:21).

CH-6) Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness:
Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;
Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God!

It is sad indeed if we’ve come to view the Communion Service as a dry ritual, as something to be got through, so we can head for home. If our hearts are in tune with the Lord, and our spiritual vision is, at least for a brief time, refreshed and clarified, we will regret the end of the service. We will, in the leaving, anticipate with joy the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when the church, His heavenly bride, will be gathered to Him forever (Rev. 19:7-9).

CH-7) Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.
The bread and wine remove; but Thou art here,
Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Sun.

CH-8) Feast after feast thus comes and passes by;
Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love.

Questions:
1) Are you able to enjoy and revel in the Lord’s Supper, the way Dr. Bonar describes it?

2) If not, are there ways you can increase your appreciation of this service?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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