Abide with me
From the moment I saw the daily prompt, I couldn’t get it out of my mind: Abide. One of those old-fashioned words I learned early in life. Not in school, but from singing a beloved old hymn over and over, “Abide with me.”
Stay with me. Dwell with me. Don’t leave me alone. I need your presence, especially now.
Is it my age? Possibly. But it’s more than that.
It’s Advent. I can’t get out of my mind the image of Jesus coming to abide then and now with us as human beings. Especially in times of distress, change and upheaval. A baby comes to abide with a family he didn’t choose and never met before birth. As a young man he gathers a group of children, women and men, perhaps hoping they’ll abide with him until he meets his end. Indeed, one of them promises never to leave him. And yet….
It isn’t just that I feel better when someone abides with me. It’s that I don’t want to be abandoned in this life. At any point along the way, and especially at the end. Anyone will do. Anyone who will abide with me, even for a little while. Jesus understands this longing, this need for other people willing to be present, to remind us physically that we’re not alone. Especially, but not only during hard times.
And so this old hymn resonates for me. There’s One who is already there for me up to and beyond my farewell to this earth. My head knows this. My heart yearns to see what I cannot see. Touch what I cannot touch. And so I sing….
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day,
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away,
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need thy presence every passing hour;
What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee:
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Words: H. F. Lyte, 1847
Music (Eventide): W. H. Monk, 1861
Text copied from The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of American, published by The Church Pension Fund 1940, 1943
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 December 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Abide