Sunday morning: 24Mar13--83/282
A week from today is Easter.
Having been raised in Oregon in the middle part of the last century under the influence of a rather conservative Christian experience, the day was not celebrated as well as it could have been. Oh, yes, there was talk of Jesus' resurrection. But more was made of colored eggs and new shirts so that we could "look good for God." Even the yellow marshmellow chicken "Peeps" made it into the baskets.
Now, I've got nothing against the fun of the season. It is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring. To celebrate the new, the impossible of that which seemed dead in winter is coming back to life in nature. Of course, that even reflects the newness of life that is experienced by Christ-following people on every continent.
As I got older and found out about the "ancient Christian calendar" for the whole year, through all seasons, on a three year cycle, I became enthused to follow that path into the future of the months given to us. So, today is Palm Sunday. Thursday is Maundy Thursday. The "not so good" Good Friday shows up. Then there is Black Saturday. And then...........celebrating the almost impossibility of new life in nature, in reality, soulishly, in human life, Easter!
George Matheson March 27, 1842-August 28, 1906) was a Scottish theologian and preacher who wrote the beloved hymn, "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go." Matheson himself wrote of the composition:
"I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high."
"O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go" was written on the evening of Matheson’s sister’s marriage. Years before, he had been engaged, until his fiancée learned that he was going blind—that there was nothing the doctors could do—and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He went blind while studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one to care for him through the years, but now she was gone. He was now 40, and his sister’s marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak. It was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave Matheson this hymn, which he said was written in five minutes.
On this YouTube is the renowned Westminster Chorus, (sent to us this past week by a close friend) singing a David Phelps arrangement of this George Matheson hymn. It is being sung in the Petrikirche, a Protestant church (start of construction 1322) in Dortmund, Germany. The church is famous for the huge carved altar (known as "Golden Miracle of Dortmund"), from 1521. It consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.
Watch and listen severals times around as you live into this Easter Week 2013. May you allow this love to have a hold on your own soul as never before.
As you read and digest the lyrics, don't lose sight of the fact that this was written by a blind man, a young man who lost his sight at 20yo, who, when he slipped through the "thin veil" on August 28, 1906 could then see wAy more than you and I can see. One of these days we, too, will see what he now sees, thanks to what we celebrate this week around our world, and next Sunday, the love that holds us close...........
Even this day. The very hour in time you are reading this. Listen well.
Lyrics to Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go:
Oh, love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give you back the life I owe
And in your ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be
Oh, light that follows all my way
I yield my flickering torch to thee
And my heart restores its borrowed ray
That in your sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be
Oh, joy, that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not in vain
That morn shall tearless be
Oh, cross that's lifting up my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust life's glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be