Abide with me (2)

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide…

Two disciples are walking to Emmaus, despairing, disappointed and confused. Jesus joins them. It’s getting dark. ‘Abide with me’. Their eyes are opened. Jesus is there and they hadn’t realised it.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day…

Several friends know of life’s fragility – a disabling accident, hospitalisation, cancer discovered… In a decaying world we invite an unchanging God to share our fragile lives.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word…

‘Abide with me’… I invite God to abide, to stay with me. He isn’t an occasional or convenient visitor. He becomes a constant, familiar presence.

Come not in terror, as the King of kings…

I invite the King of kings who comes with kindness, with healing power, with a compassionate heart. He weeps with me; he is my friend when I mess up.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile…
God is personal, seeing individual me. ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘my’ comes 21 times in this hymn. However I have treated him God has been with me, is with me, and will be with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour...
God’s abiding presence brings me a helpless humility and uncompromised honesty. In inviting him to ‘abide’ I burn my bridges. I have no other source of guidance or security.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
I can look death in the face and not be afraid. Sickness and sadness are seen in perspective when God is there. ‘Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?’

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes
Despite doubts I come with confidence. I am helpless and powerless over so much in my life. Hope is consolidated. Heaven is brighter than earth. ‘In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’


‘Abide with Me’ by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847).

See yesterday’s ‘musing’ for all of the words

Lyte was an Irish, Anglican minister. He was a curate in County Wexford, and vicar at All Saints, Brixham in Devon. For most of his life Lyte suffered from poor health. He contracted tuberculosis and died when he was 54. He is tribute with saying ‘I would rather wear out than rust out’.

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