Wednesday, February 28, 2018

God of Grace and God of Glory ~ take two

Krista Tippet once said, "Hymns are the way good church people walk around poetry not calling it that."

Listen once again to the hymn, reading or singing, the third and four verses.

3 Cure your children's warring madness;
bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss your kingdom's goal,
lest we miss your kingdom's goal.

4 Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of your salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving you whom we adore,
serving you whom we adore.

These two verses land with a thud in my lap.  These two verses make me mumble and mutter to myself, "Yeah...I resemble that remark."  These two verses offer both a moment of confession and assurance.  The third verse starts with shining a light the fact that the violence we do to ourselves and others is an illness ~ from which we need to be cured.  While, I am not fond of Henry Fosdick's word "shame" ~ because I don't think that is the way God works or wiggles in to our life ~ I realize that might be my ego trying to defend and deflect and deny.  But those words, "Rich in things and poor in soul," have been true for the nearly hundred years we have been singing these words.  Perhaps we are secretly glad that the organ doesn't stop playing right there causing us to have to ponder what we just said aloud.  Because, as Fosdick says, we can miss God's realm when we are possessed by our own possessions ~ like the one Jesus told to sell everything to follow him, but instead just want away sad for he had many things.

So, when you get to that final verse...about being saved from weak resignation ~ that we might have some resolve and resiliency and respond to the brokenness within us and around us.  Not that we can will ourselves or just try harder...but with God's presence...with God moving in us and through us... we do start to inch-by-inch set out in new directions.

This is what the season of Lent is all about.  It is about be honest with ourselves, about ourselves, as well as the world God so loves.  It is about making amends and finding new ruts, rhythm, routines to live our life.  It is about having the wisdom and courage to see the beauty and brokenness and how sometimes those two things are the same thing ~ beauty of the brokenness and in the messy middle of the brokenness.  It is that which God can use to free us ~ not with some golden ticket to heaven ~ but to serve and to be of service.

This hymn is a prayer and poetry that sets my soul ablaze and helps me find more than a trace of God's graces.  I pray it might for you too.

Grace and peace ~~

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