10:58 PM

Ash Wednesday (Day Forty of Lent)

hard to believe it's been a year since the famed (i know; i flatter myself) hymn series during lent 2006, but here we are again, embarking on a similar endeavor. kinda thrilling, eh?

i thought it would be good to recap what we did last year, particularly for you newbies, who may wonder why in the blue blazes i would skip a hymn like "and can it be." there's a good reason - i'm shooting for no repeats. if you're that curious, you can always check the archives.

Lent Last Year:
All Authority and Power
Rock of Ages (When the Day Seems Long)
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
All Praise to Christ
Lift High the Cross
Thou Lovely Source of True Delight
It Is Well
Thine Is the Glory (wrongly titled "Thine Be the Glory" in the archives)
We Have Heard the Joyful Sound
O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Just As I Am
In Christ Alone
Approach My Soul
Before the Throne of God Above
Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners!
What Wondrous Love Is This?
When All Thy Mercies
When I Survey
Alas and Did My Savior Bleed?
Nothing But the Blood
There Is Power in the Blood
Awake My Soul
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?
There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing
The Love of Christ Is Rich and Free
She Must and Shall Go Free
A Debtor to Mercy Alone
O Come and Mourn
O Love Incomprehensible
Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder
Not What My Hands Have Done
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
Man of Sorrows, What a Name!
How Deep the Father's Love For Us
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Thou, Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor
Joy to the World
Greensleeves/What Child Is This?
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Other Hymns From Random Times:
For All the Saints
No More, My God
Beautiful, Scandalous Night
O Christ, Our King, Creator, Lord
Let All Things Now Living
His Love Can Never Fail
Grace Upon Grace
Crown Him with Many Crowns

so today is day forty of lent (i like to count down to blastoff... Jesus rising from the dead certainly seems to qualify as "blastoff" in my mind...), and a TON of good hymns have been taken. by last year. so this could get interesting.

today we're doing one that seems appropriate not because of the season, but because it seems like we easily forget the season and get lost in this grey weirdness. in high school, my headmaster called this time of year the "third watch" - which is the toughest to slough through alot of times. this song i think speaks to such times well.

Begone Unbelief
begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
and for my relief will surely appear.
by faith let me wrestle with God in the storm
and help me, my Savior, the faith to adorn
and help me, my Savior, the faith to adorn

though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
'tis mine to obey, and His to provide;
though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail

begone unbelief, the Savior is here
begone unbelief, the Savior is here
begone unbelief, the Savior is here
though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail

why should i complain of want or distress,
temptation or pain? - He told me no less.
the heirs of salvation, i know from His Word
through much tribulation must follow their Lord
through much tribulation must follow their Lord

begone unbelief, the Savior is here
begone unbelief, the Savior is here
begone unbelief, the Savior is here
though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail
the Word He has spoken will surely prevail

since all that i meet will work for my good,
the bitter is sweet, the medicine food.
though painful at present, will cease before long,
and then, o how glorious, the conqueror's song!
and then, o how glorious, the conqueror's song!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1) i love that it's the presence of the Savior that has the power to banish unbelief and to adorn us with faith in this hymn, because it's certainly true that if Christ were no Savior to us, than this hope would be an utterly empty one. it is His saving work (death + life) that both binds us to Him and reassures us when we doubt the strength of the binding. it's like when you're 4 and you have a nightmare and you're scared out of your little mind, and daddy comes in and scoops you up and holds you next to his heart and prays for your peace, only wayyyyyyyyyyyyy cooler. and more potent.
2) i love the contrast in the end of the second verse and the chorus that is being made between the unreliability of broken cisterns (bad loci of trusts) and creatures (mostly, i think, other people) and the utter reliability of God's Word, particularly here His promises.
3) the last verse showcases a very interesting attitude toward the rough stuff of life based on romans 8:28 ~> that we would understand the "bitter" and "medicine" to be not only kindness, but even sustenance from God... i'm thinking this probably very much relates to having joy in suffering.