Posted by: rcottrill | April 25, 2018

Nothing Between

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Words: Charles Albert Tindley (b. July 7, 1851; d. July 26, 1933)
Music: Charles Albert Tindley

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

Note: For the story of how this song came to be written, and more information about this truly remarkable man, see the first of the Wordwise Hymns links above.

This article has to do with the space between things or people. There are times when it’s helpful to check the distance between two places. Perhaps as we plan a trip, we wonder how much time it will take to get there.

The distance between Vancouver and Toronto is 3,364 km by plane, and about a thousand kilometres more if you go by car. The distance between Halifax, Nova Scotia and London, England is 4,621 km. The choice there is between a sea voyage and a plane flight. The distance from earth to the moon is 384,400 km, and traveling there requires specialized equipment propelled by rockets.

These are longer distances. But American anthropologist Edward T. Hall developed the concept of what he called Proxemics, to describe how we define our personal distance from other people.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when someone you didn’t know seemed to want to crowd too close? Likely we all have. There are many factors involved, but Hall believed it was possible to give approximations of comfortable distances.

¤ Hall claimed an intimate distance (as for a spouse) is about 60 cm (2 feet) down to physical contact.
¤ Personal distance (for family and friends) is roughly 1.5 m down to 60 cm.
¤ According to Hall, a comfortable social distance from strangers is 3 m down to 1.5 m.

But there’s another kind of distance that can’t be calculated with a tape measure. It’s the distance between the souls of two people. In the classic 1941 film Citizen Kane, Orson Welles brilliantly illustrates this with a montage of scenes in which Charles Foster Kane sits at breakfast with his wife, over many years. They’re both at the same table, but we witness the growing distance between them emotionally in how they look at one another–or don’t, the way they talk to one another–or don’t, and other more subtle things.

What divides people in this sense are things like anger, hatred, prejudice, pride, deceit, and selfishness. What can bridge the space between are qualities such as humility, mercy, love, grace, kindness, and forgiveness.

The Bible teaches important keys to personal relationships. We’re not to lie, but speak the truth to others (Eph. 4:25). Not steal from others, but be ready to give generously to them (vs. 28). Not tear down others with “corrupt [unwholesome] communication,” but try to encourage and build them up by what we say (vs. 29). We’re to avoid such things as “bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour [angry shouting], and evil speaking [slander],” instead seeking to be “kind to one another, tenderhearted, [and] forgiving” (vs. 31-32).

And what of our relationship with God? What is it that can divide us? Here are several things.

¤ Pride: the foolish notion that we don’t need God.
¤ Unbelief: a failure to trust in the promises of God.
¤ Disobedience: a failure to do the will of God.
¤ Worldliness: living by the values of a godless world (cf. I Jn. 2:15-17)

The Bible’s summary word for the things that separate us from the Lord is sin. “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).

Pastor Tindley wrote a song in 1905 that is a warning to Christians not to allow anything to create a space between them and God that would hinder fellowship with Him, and rob the believer of spiritual joy and blessing.

CH-1) Nothing between my soul and my Saviour,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favour–
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

CH-2) Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
Habits of life, though harmless they seem;
Must not my heart from Him ever sever;
He is my all, there’s nothing between.

CH-4) Nothing between, e’en many hard trials,
Though the whole world against me convene;
Watching with prayer and much self denial,
I’ll triumph at last, there’s nothing between.

Questions:
1) Is there something in your own life that tends to come between you and the Lord?

2) What are you doing, or what will you do, to deal with this problem?

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


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