Sunday, 20 March 2016

Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face

The following has fast become one of my favourite hymns. Why?
First it is about Holy Communion which is something close to my heart. Every Sunday we celebrate it because it is a weekly reminder of Jesus' sacrificial death for us. When we take the bread and wine we are accepting for ourselves what Jesus has done for us.

Second, the hymn reminds us that in the end, the tokens or symbols ill cease and we will be able to experience the reality they point to.

"Feast after feast thus comes and passes by.
Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above..."

Third, the hymn moves me. It touches something deep within me and creates a sense of yearning which I find it very difficult to put my finger on. Maybe it is the sense of anticipation that is created every time I receive the bread and wine or the hunger for God which is always there but never fully realised?

Either way I love the hymn and found myself writing a tune for it which the church kindly played, albeit a shortened version, which is here found below:

Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon you lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with you the royal wine of heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
Here is the heavenly table spread anew;
Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong
The brief bright hour of fellowship with you.

I have no help but yours; nor do I need
Another arm but yours to lean upon;
It is enough, O Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in your might, your might alone.

Mine is the sin but yours the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt but yours the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;
Your blood, your righteousness, O Lord, my God.

Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.
The bread and wine remove, but you are here,
Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by.
Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.

Hymn # 243 from Lutheran Worship
Author: attr. Henry Lawes
Tune: Farley Castle
1st Published in: 1855

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