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.