Posted by: rcottrill | September 18, 2017

What If It Were Today?

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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: Lelia Naylor Morris (b. Apr. 15, 1862; d. July 23, 1929)
Music: Lelia Naylor Morris

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Lelia Naylor married Charles Morris in 1881. She began writing sacred songs in the 1890’s, and kept it up, even after her eyesight began to fail in 1913. Her daughter set up a blackboard twenty-eight feet long, with a huge music staff on it, which her mother used to write, until she went completely blind. Lelia Morris wrote more than a thousand songs–most of them after she began suffering from a loss of her sight.

To “suppose” can mean to consider a possibility, using our imagination to answer a “What if…?” question.

The movies do it all the time to create situations that grab our attention. Films such as Fail-Safe (1964), or WarGames (1983) ask us to ponder a chilling possibility: Suppose America started a nuclear war with Russia accidentally. What then?

Christ’s parables use that technique as well. For example, suppose a farmer sows some seed (Mk. 4:3-20). What kind of yield can he expect? Answer: It depends to a significant extent on whether the seed lands on good and well prepared soil or not. And the parable applies factor this to our need of hearts ready to receive God’s Word.

The use of imagination in this way can have a practical value nearer home. Just suppose a hurricane were to sweep through town. Are we prepared? Have we identified a safe place to go in the event it happens? Or suppose thieves attempt to break into our house. Do we have sufficient security protection?

Posing a supposition can help us to adjust our values. On a personal (and more mundane) note, our son and his family live in Mexico City, where he and his wife serve as missionaries. They’re able to visit us only occasionally, every few years. One time a visit was expected in a couple of months time, and my wife began to worry about all she had to get done to prepare. But I asked, “Suppose they were to surprise us and arrive today? Would you turn them away because the house isn’t tidy or dusted?” And the answer was, of course not. Other things were far less important than welcoming them.

The same principle applies to the return of Christ, but for that event readiness is vitally important. The Bible repeatedly tells us He’s coming back again. Suppose it were to happen today? Are we ready for it? “Be ready,” Jesus warns, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt. 24:44). Are we sure of our soul’s salvation? And would the things we’ve planned to do please Him?

First, readiness involves trusting Christ for our eternal salvation (Jn. 3:16; 14:6; Acts 4:12). Beyond that it relates to inward character, and priorities, and outward conduct. Are we living in obedience to His Word? Are we honouring and serving Him with our lives?

“Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:11-13).

“Therefore, since all these things [the things of this material world] will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (II Pet. 3:11).

“We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I Jn. 3:2-3).

In 1912, hymn writer Lelia Morris published a song on this theme. What If It Were Today? poses a supposition for us all to think about.

CH-1) Jesus is coming to earth again;
What if it were today?
Coming in power and love to reign;
What if it were today?
Coming to claim His chosen bride,
All the redeemed and purified,
Over this whole earth scattered wide;
What if it were today?

Glory, glory! Joy to my heart ’twill bring.
Glory, glory! When we shall crown Him king.
Glory, glory! Haste to prepare the way;
Glory, glory! Jesus will come some day.

CH-3) Faithful and true would He find us here,
If He should come today?
Watching in gladness and not in fear,
If He should come today?
Signs of His coming multiply;
Morning light breaks in eastern sky.
Watch, for the time is drawing nigh;
What if it were today?

It’s a question worth considering.

Questions:
1) Are you ready for Christ’s return?

2) What are your plans in the meantime?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. I grew up singing this hymn — at church — at Bible camp in the summer . . . but I haven’t sung it in a long time, because nobody knows it anymore.

    And an additional comment/question about the author: Did she not write words *and* music to *all* of her hymns?

    • Hi Carol. Your first comment is one I’ve heard many times, and it always makes me sad. I’ve had the same thing happen when I’ve been called to preach somewhere, and asked for what I think is a hymn related to the message, only to have the response, “We don’t know that one.” Sometimes, I’ve volunteered to teach it, and have done so on occasion. As to your question, I certainly haven’t looked at all of Mrs. Morris’s songs, but for the ones I have she did write both words and music.


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