Posted by: rcottrill | November 9, 2016

Heavenly Father, Thou Hast Brought Us

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Hester Periam Lewis Hawkins (b. Nov. 13, 1846; d. May 18, 1928)
Music: Lux Eoi, by Arthur Seymour Sullivan (b. May 13, 1842; d. Nov. 22, 1900)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Hester Hawkins wrote a couple of books about astronomy, but it is her volume The Home Hymn Book, a Manual of Sacred Song for the Family Circle, published in 1885, that is of special interest here. “For home use we know of no book of equal comprehensiveness and merit. The music also is well adapted to the family circle,” wrote hymn historian John Julian. Seven of the hymns in the book were written by Mrs. Hawkins, including the present one.

The tune by Arthur Sullivan is fine, but if you’re looking for one that’s likely more familiar, try Beecher, to which Wesley’s Love Divine All Loves Excelling is often sung.

There are many old proverbs that contain a kernel of truth. “A stitch in time saves nine,” we say. Which means if we make an immediate repair of something it can save a bigger repair job later on. That can be applied not only to torn clothing, but to our health and other things.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is a way of saying a resource we have now may be worth more than benefits we may hope to gain in the future, but may never possess. We can daydream about what it would be like to be a millionaire, but the much smaller amount we have in the bank today is of more practical value to us.

There are other sayings that are more questionable, especially when we try to examine them from a spiritual perspective. “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” says one. But can you see the problem with that?

In terms of eternity, our destination is critically important. To give attention only to this mortal life is incredibly short-sighted. The Bible describes two possible destinies for human beings,“the resurrection of life, and…the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn. 5:29), “everlasting life [or] shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).

When Christ returns, He will say to His own, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 24:34), and to the unsaved, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (vs. 41).

But giving our eternal destiny its proper value does not mean the journey there has no significance at all. More accurately we could say: It’s about the journey, not just the destination. John Bunyan (1628-1688) would certainly agree. He is the author of the classic allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, the fuller title of which is, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come.

When we have found Christ, and put our trust in Him as our Saviour from sin (Jn. 3:16), we have begun an earthly pilgrimage to what Bunyan calls the Celestial City. On our journey, we discover more about the God who saved us, and more about our eternal destiny. Though he likely didn’t have heaven in mind, Canadian rapper Drake Graham said, “Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.”

On our pilgrimage, as we believe and obey God’s Word, we become more Christlike in our attitudes and actions, and loving toward others. And we have daily opportunities to serve Him, by encouraging others to join us on our heavenly journey (II Cor. 5:20). Promised heavenly rewards also make a connection between the journey and our heavenly destiny.

Further, each day gives us more evidence of the Lord’s infinite goodness and His abounding sufficiency for our needs. “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!” (Ps. 68:19).

CH-1) Heav’nly Father, Thou hast brought us
Safely to the present day,
Gently leading on our footsteps,
Watching o’er us all the way.
Friend and Guide through life’s long journey,
Grateful hearts to Thee we bring;
But for love so true and changeless,
How shall we fit praises sing?

CH-3) Shadows deep have crossed our pathway;
We have trembled in the storm;
Clouds have gathered round so darkly
That we could not see Thy form;
Yet Thy love hath never left us
In our griefs alone to be,
And the help each gave the other
Was the strength that came from Thee.”

CH-4) Many that we loved have left us,
Reaching first their journey’s end;
Now they wait to give us welcome,
Brother, sister, child and friend.
When at last our journey’s over,
And we pass away from sight,
Father, take us through the darkness
Into everlasting light.

Questions:
1) If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, what value do you see in the Lord leaving you hear on earth, instead of immediately taking you to heaven?

2) What investment of time, talents, and treasures are you making in the days God is giving you?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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