Posted by: rcottrill | August 13, 2018

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

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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: John Fawcett (b. Jan. 6, 1740; d. July 25, 1817)
Music: Dennis, by Hans Georg Nägeli (b. May 26, 1773; d. Dec. 26, 1836)

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

Note: John Fawcett was converted when a teen-ager, under the ministry of George Whitefield. He first attached himself to the Methodists, but later became a Baptist. He wrote several volumes of hymns and other poetry. Hymnary.org reports that the present hymn is found in more than 2,000 hymnals.

Unity or division–which will it be? Some politicians seem to go out of their way to create an us-versus-them polarity. While exciting their followers with grandiose promises they can’t possibly keep, they rain false accusations and cruel abuse on their rivals and any who would dare to support them.

This crippling phenomena can flow from the leadership down, spreading through society like a malignant plague. In its corrupting atmosphere meanness, name-calling and vulgarity flourish, while courtesy and civility whither and die. Decency and respect for others soon seem in short supply.

The hilarious Red Green Show graced Canadian television for fifteen years, until 2006. Steve Smith, an Order of Canada recipient, was the star and the creative genius behind the program. He had a famous catchphrase that eventually became the title of his autobiography:

“We’re all in this together.”

There’s simple wisdom in those words. Instead of driving people apart, we need to put more emphasis on things we have in common. Not that we can’t hold different opinions, and even argue them forcefully. But we should do so with grace, and a sense of respect for others that recognizes our common struggle, and those values we all share in common.

This applies as well to the church of Jesus Christ. Because we’re human, there can sometimes be strife and division in a congregation. The apostles recognized this can happen, but condemned it (I Cor. 3:3), and urged that it be resolved (Phil. 4:2).

Christians are to minister to one another in the local church, seeking “the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:11-13), and “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). The Bible speaks of believers as part of the spiritual body of Christ, and urges us to act like it.

“There should be no schism [division] in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it….You are the body of Christ, and members individually” (I Cor. 12:25-27).

This sense of oneness among Christians is celebrated in a hymn by a pastor named John Fawcett. He served a small church in Yorkshire, England, and as his family grew, he struggled to make ends meet. Then came a call to be the pastor of a large and prestigious church, Carter’s Lane Baptist Church, in London. Their pastor had recently died, and Pastor Fawcett accepted the congregation’s invitation to fill the position.

The good man preached his farewell sermon, and loaded six or seven wagons with furniture, his books, and other things. But when packing was nearly complete he and his wife sat down on a crate and wept.

All around them, members of the congregation were in tears as well. They grieved at having to part from their beloved pastor. His wife finally cried, “Oh, John, John, I cannot bear this! I know not how to go!” “Nor I, either,” said her husband. “Nor will we go. Unload the wagons!” John Fawcett notified the Carter’s Lane church of his decision to remain where he was, and he stayed there, to the delight of his people.

It’s believed his hymn was written in response to that experience. Notice how it emphasizes the unity of believers in various experiences and feelings.

CH-1) Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

CH-2) Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

CH-3) We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

CH-4) When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

Questions:
1) What are some of the things that seem to divide Christians unnecessarily?

2) What are some basic things that should unite Christians?

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


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