Abide with me, fast falls the even tide
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Darkness. Last night as I drove out of the city I happened to be driving just at sunset, which has never been a good time for me. Like a lot of people sensitive to light and seasons, my mood dips when the sun goes down in the late fall and winter. I am helpless against the power of the earth as it turns and tilts.
I need Thy presence every passing hour
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who but Thyself my guide, and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
Grace. I teach about grace a few times a year, always with a sense of guilt – how can i stand before people and try to explain that which cannot be explained? Grace – friendship with God. Grace – participation in the life of God. Grace – God working in the world, on us and with us.
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 you abide with me.
Grave. In the darkness of night our world can indeed seem grave, when we are confronted with tragedy and sadness, the pain of those we love and the challenges of being alive in an imperfect world. It may be then that our only triumph is our hope.
Hold now 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.
Life. Throughout my life, abide with me. Is this not the root of all our prayer? God, whatever you are, however you come to us, as love, as goodness, as blessing, as grace, be with us. Abide with us. Teach us to hope in you, to serve your light, to trust against our senses and against our despair. Prepare us for the dawn of heaven’s morning and remind us that the shadows of this earth are indeed vain and no match for your Light.
[Music: Eventide William Monk (19thC)
Words: Henry F. Lyte (19th C)]