Monday, December 31, 2007

Abide with me

I'm not a bible thumper, I swear. I don't think there's anything wrong with being one, I just happen to keep my thoughts about God mostly to myself and quietly do my own thing. Unless I'm complaining about Him here, of course...

But because I found myself ridiculously early for New Year's Eve Mass tonight (I thought it would be crowded. It wasn't.) I decided to kill some time by flipping through my missal. I usually forget to bring it with me but for some reason I remembered tonight. It's all new and red and pretty and it caught my eye as I rushed out the door.

It shouldn't look quite as new as it does, actually. I forget it a lot.

Anyway, the back is filled with hymns and prayers and sundry, which is what I was perusing while I waited. Nothing like boredom to force you into prayer mode.

So when I read this little prayer, which I recognize as an old hymn that I think was one of my Grandfather's favourites, a chill tickled its way up my spine. Twice. My body payed attention to the magic in the words. The divinity, I suppose.

I don't know why, but I think a good spine-tingling prayer is worth repeating, especially in the dying hours of an old year that, for the most part, I'm very happy to see come to a close. Once and for all, and all that.

If it doesn't make you tingle, that's okay. If nothing else, maybe the archaic language will give you the cozies.

Either way, I hope you enjoy. And I hope the close of the year brings you some much needed peace, no matter who you are or what you've struggled with these last 12 long months.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness 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.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou 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.

4 comments:

loribeth said...

Much as I enjoy contemporary worship from time to time, sometimes the old hymns are the best. : ) Glad this one brought you some comfort. When I was in high school, the band often used to play at Remembrance Day cenotaph services (lips freezing to metal mouthpieces notwithstanding...!), & this was always part of the service.

BasilBean said...

Kristin this is so beautiful.

Thank you for sharing it, I know I will come back to this often as it has brought tears to my eyes.

I'm wishing you peace and all the best in the new year to come.
(((((big hugs)))))

Sherry said...

It brought tears to my eyes, too, as it's the type of prayer my grandmother loved so much.

Many hugs to wishes for a happy new year coming your way.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful hymn. Wishing you all the best in 2008.