Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He Abides

A couple of weeks ago in our Wed Bible study, we were evaluating various study guides. Each person had looked over assigned material and came back the following week to give "reviews" on what they had read. One person shared that their material was called "Abiding in Truth". His first observation was that this guide would be better suited to a more mature Christian group than not, if for no other reason than that the title gave it away as "church-ese" (that unique language that's known only to church-goers). He said, "people just don't use the word 'abide' anymore". I couldn't help it. My first response was, "and that's a bummer, because it's such a great word!"

I really do love words. And I know there's nothing particularly sacred or spiritual about one word over another. But I can't help but feel the beauty and impact of such a great word as "ABIDE"; Sure, you can say the Holy Spirit is "with" me. And it means pretty much the same thing. But the word "abide" implies such a deeper level of being or dwelling. Not only is He "with" me now, but there is almost an unspoken sense of promise that when He came, He came to stay. That it would only be me, by my own choices, that could push Him away. He came to stay. He came to pull alongside me. He came to ABIDE. What a beautiful thought. What a blessing to cherish.

So maybe I am too easily drawn into "church-ese", and I in no way mean to dismiss or condone it. We do have to be careful to not appear exclusive in our language, demeanor, or methods, to a watching world. But in the quiet place of my heart, I will always be glad that I had the opportunity to grow up in such a way that nurtured a love for some of the "old" while recognizing when it's time for some of the "new".

I came home from church that night, and sat down at the piano with my hymnal to play and sing the following, just for the solace it brought to my own heart:

ABIDE WITH ME by Henry F. Lyte, 1847

Abide with me; fast falls the even-tide;
The darkeness deepens: Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


~Heather~ said...

Hey Tara, such a great post! Phillip read it too, and he replied, "That's so true, for we are lowing the quality of our English language and our church language too. We dumb down our languages to the lowest common denominator, so then we have cheap choruses, (7...11. 7 words, sung 11 times. =) cheap Bible translations, and cheap "pep" talks instead of rich inspiring teaching from God's Word."

Thanks for your concern for Kimberly, she's only fainted 4 times in her 9 1/2 years. When she hurts herself really badly, she faints. Any time she is in pain, whether she hurts her arm or her knee, or anything else, really hard, she faints. We'll keep watching her, but I think she's fine...her grandma faints a lot too.

Hope all is well your way. Sorry about your computer being struck by lightening, but glad you're back on.

Love, Heather =)

Ladyluck said...

Thanks so much for thinking to check on me. You are right, I haven't been on in about three weeks. We've been having a rough time. With great excitement we found out I was pregnant on July 2, but immediately had problems. I miscarried two days ago, on July 24. It's all a bit fresh to talk about right now. However, I would be remiss if I didn't say how faithful God has been through all of it. I will eventually write it up, simply because the testimony of his love and kindness needs to be spoken.

Thanks for missing me and checking on me... it means more than you know.

Tara said...

Jody, my heart is broken for you today. You are in my prayers.

Thank you for your comment, Heather. Always good to hear from you.

Jody J said...

I thoroughly delighted in your recent post. I trust that thou hast a wonderful day which God has created.

Kelly S said...

And what a comfort that is! And to think that his spirit abides in me makes me want to live as carefully as I can so as to not make the spirit uncomfortable with his dwelling place.

Kelly S said...

Tara, this has nothing to do with your blog. I'm sitting her at my desk working and had a funny memory. I just had a flashback of you at HSBC walking to the cafeteria, looking as serious as could be with HUGE swooping hair! For just a QUICK moment, we all were trying to figure out if you were serious. That took nerve girl! So funny. I just saw on Kim's blog that you were part of the yearbook committee. I lost mine and would love to see it again. Just curious, are you guilty for putting my picture in there with the comment about my credit cards? Black mail kiddo!:)

Kimberly said...

Since reading this post, I've been thinking of the old gospel song "He Abides"...(and specifically Brent's beautiful version of it from his 1st piano tape!).."the Spirit has control, Jesus satifys my soul"..He is with comfort, guide, and encourage even in our weakness..His presence so much bigger that our strivings..maybe that is indicated in the word "Abide" vs. simply "with"? Anyway, good thoughts! Love Ya!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the post. I agree that words can convey so many shades of meaning, and we lose something when we sacrifice them to a slimmed down version. Good thoughts! I also love that hymn. Thanks for sharing.

julie f said...

Thanks for blogging about this. The older I get, the more I treasure the old hymns and deep thoughts conveyed in them. There is just something about words and melodies that have stood the test of time!

Love to read what you share!

Blessings on your day...

Tara said...

Kelly: yes, that is one of my "how could i have done that" memories! Julia and I used to sit over in the dorm making my hair as hideous as possible and then try to see if I could pass it off as 'real'! Oy! As for the yearbook.....I only said I helped on the staff!! I wasn't responsible for every pic and caption!

Jody, Kimberly, Sonja and Julie: thanks for your responses. I love having interaction with all of you!

jenny said...

"to grow up in such a way that nurtured a love for some of the 'old' while recognizing when it's time for some of the 'new'"
...that's a great summary statment of where I hope I can strike a balance in helping raise our family, too.

And, if I may point out, you seem to be finding that balance in quoting Tomlin as easily as you do 19th century hymns.

kayla said...

Very beautifully written. I totally agree with the balance of the old and the new. I had a teaching moment today when "It Is Well With My Soul" came on a video the boys were watching. It was priceless to watch their faces as they realized the meaning of the words. I may have been a little too dramatic, but they all wanted to pray when the song was over.

Kim M. said...

I just love hymns and I am so thankful to have a pastor who continues to want them in our church. We love to sing them here at home too. Thanks for expounding on "He Abides" and bringing our thoughts to His abiding presence!

Toots said...

I'm so with you on the special beauty and meaning in many old hymns. Once my girls were born, I had a renewed love of them and recorded several, with the hope that they would not be lost for future generations. Great post, Tara.

Making Memories 1999 said...

I agree with you, friend! Thanks so very much for sharing this post! I reread the words to that hymn -- a very comforting hymn!! Trust you are having a good day!