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Thursday: in the cross

Well, it’s Thursday already. 

It’s been a morning of running errands that were postponed until the end of Holy Week and of trying to make inroads into the 109 hours that still remain for the learner driver in the house. I am aware of the unread mails and messages lurking behind this (once) almost blank screen and of the rumbling in my belly that says it’s nearly time to do something about lunch. 

How quickly life returns to normal; shifts from the sacred back into the ordinary. And how hard it is to hold on to the passion of Easter and the Good News message of God’s great love for the world when there are practical things that need to be done. 

So … the song I’d like to share with you today is one that I grew up singing in church on Sundays. Even though it’s from the Methodist Hymn Book (number 199), I call it a song because the version below is not at all “hymny” and I love it! 

In our busyness, 
in our dailyness,
in our brokenness,
may Christ keep us close to the cross.


Jesus, keep me near the Cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

In the Cross, in the Cross,
Be my glory ever; 
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the Cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Shed its beams around me.

In the Cross, in the Cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the Cross, O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadow oe’r me.

In the Cross, in the Cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the Cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

In the Cross, in the Cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.Methodist Hymn Book 199 – Frances Jane van Alstyne

Tune in on Thursdays

One of the great gifts that I am discovering in this new time are the “tunes” that really talk to my heart – some pretty ancient and powerful, and some freshly penned as people give expression to the lament and the longing of the world right now. 

This morning I flipped through my granny’s old Methodist hymn book – complete with pencil scribbles – until I came to 431: Love Divine. This was the hymn that I chose before offering my public testimony to God’s continued call upon my life to be ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament, with the middle verse sung in isiXhosa in recognition of the great diversity of God’s people. It will also, one day in the very far future I hope, be sung at my mom’s funeral.

This Thursday, I offer the words to you to reflect on: words which bind me in this present moment to a past that speaks of God’s faithfulness and a future which is full of promise; words which speak of a Church that crosses oceans and transcends time; words which call us to the kind of love that transforms us from the inside out. 

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown:
Jesu, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy grace receive;
Suddenly return, and never,
Never more Thy temple leave:
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise Thee, without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish then Thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Til in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Or, if you’d like to listen:

I wonder, what song is in your heart at the moment? You might want to take a minute to comment on this post or to send me an email (yvonne@liturgies4life.com) so that it can be included in a future “Tune in on Thursdays.”

Yours in Christ