Posted by: rcottrill | December 1, 2017

Gazing on the Lord

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

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: Centra Thompson (no data available)
Music: Dijon, by J. G. Bitthauer (18th century, no other information)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)

Note: Nothing is currently known about Miss Centra Thompson, but she has given us a lovely hymn about believers gazing in wonder and worship on the Lord Jesus in heaven. If you know other things about her–birth and death dates, country she’s from, etc., please pass the information along to me.

It was a rare event. In August of 2017 a solar eclipse tracked across the entire United States. Even those a distance to the south and north got to see at least a partial eclipse. But seeing was a potential problem. We didn’t want to miss it. But warning after warning was issued concerning the damage that could be done by gazing directly at the sun. To gaze or not to gaze.

We’ve likely all experienced sunburns on our skin from the harmful rays of the sun, if we don’t use proper UV protection. It’s also possible to get a burn on the retina of the eye (and the damage is not reversible). The only safe way to view the eclipse was through specially designed dark glasses, or through a device that would project the image on a piece of card. It’s to be hoped all acted wisely and enjoyed the experience.

But consider the word “gaze” for a moment. Gazing is usually applied to something that has little or no movement. It’s difficult to gaze at a meteor that’s gone in the blink of an eye. The word relates to things that are stationary or slow moving.

The dictionary says it means: to look steadily and intently, with feelings such as great curiosity, interest, pleasure or wonder. A couple of related words carry a different emphasis. To gape at something is to stare at it open-mouthed. To gawk is to stare foolishly, without being sensitive to the meaning. An example of the latter would be gawking at a car accident, with no concern for those involved, and no intention of helping.

Applied negatively, we can gaze in shock at a huge bill from the plumber, or gaze with hurt feelings at an angry letter from someone we considered a friend. We can also gaze lustfully at impure photographs. On the positive side, we can gaze in wonder at a beautiful flower, or the crimson glory of a sunset.

We can find examples of the word in the Bible. At the time of Jesus’ ascension back into heaven, two “men” (likely angels) appeared to His disciples and said:

““Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

And when Stephen was stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr, we read:

“He, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

Other times the same Greek word is translated differently, but to express a similar meaning. At the synagogue in Nazareth, when Jesus began to speak, the people sat with “eyes…fixed on Him” (Lk. 4:20). And when Paul was summoned before the Jewish Sanhedrin, he stood “looking earnestly at the council” (Acts 23:1). The same Greek word, in both cases.

We look forward to the time when the children of God will be gathered around His heavenly throne. In that day we will gaze upon the glorified Son of God with awe and adoration. That is what Miss Thompson tried to capture, at least in part.

Significantly, the marks of Calvary were clearly evident after Christ’s resurrection. For doubting Thomas this was a final proof it was indeed the risen Lord who met with them (Jn. 20:24-28). And in one of John’s visions of heaven, Christ appears as “a Lamb as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6), eliciting these words of praise:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” (vs. 11-13).

It seems likely that the scars of Christ’s crucifixion will still be visible in heaven, reminding us of the great cost of our salvation, and filling us anew with joyful praise and worship.

1) Gazing on the Lord in glory,
While our hearts in worship bow,
There we read the wondrous story
Of the cross, it’s shame and woe:

2) Ev’ry mark of dark dishonour
Heaped upon the thorn-crowned brow,
All the depths of Thy heart’s sorrow,
Told in answ’ring glory now!

3) On that cross, alone, forsaken,
Where no pitying eye was found;
Now, to God’s right hand exalted
With Thy praise the heav’ns resound!

1) What have you gazed at recently that was a joy and a blessing?

2) Can you think of a couple of reasons why the disciples needed to stop gazing up into heaven in Acts 1:11?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (none)


%d bloggers like this: