Sunday, December 6, 2009

Testimony in Time

Many of our hymns are filled with scripture and quietly give direction. While the singer lifts their voice in song, the words feed and nourish the heart. One of those sung this morning was an old favourite of mine, I love it especially for the lines: filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.Perhaps its my love of the sea and the nautical references resonate, these lines are from Habakkuk 2:14.
God is working his purpose out,
As year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where'er man's foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God;
Give ear to me, ye continents,
Ye isles, give ear to me,
That the earth may be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Yet there's more here than the sea. The Isles of the scriptures were the northern reaches of the known land, beyond European mainland - that is Britain. The islands, the continent ... creation is bearing testimony to the works of the God. The Lord of history.

This hymn was written by Arthur C. Ainger (b. Blackheath, England, 1841; d. Eton, England, 1919) for use by the boys at Eton College, where Ainger was a popular schoolmaster from 1864-1901. Sadly there is an unedifying element of envy being perpetuated in politics, one that is discriminatory of people who've been to Public School, especially Eton.

Perhaps the challenge this discrimination presents may be overcome by celebrating all that's good. The fourth verse has the words:
That the light of the glorious gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world:
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free, that the earth ...

Goodness can emanate from across the political spectrum. We may need courage to make a stand so the gospel of truth may shine.

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