Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Be Thou My Vision

There is something comforting in hearing a familiar hymn.  One that you've heard over and over through the years.  The other day, I read a blog written about the song "It is Well" it explained how the man who wrote it did so during one of the most tumultuous times a parent can go through. His son caught pneumonia and died then a short 2 years later his four daughters died when the boat they and his wife were traveling on from the U.S. to Europe experienced a collision and sank.  Yet he was still able to write this beautiful hymn that would be a comfort to others on his journey across the ocean to join his wife.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

In May, I found myself the president of our United Methodist Women unit.  Our church had been through some trials.  I wasn't really prepared mentally or emotionally for the task so I began to pray-for guidance, direction, strength and wisdom.  Around the same time I took my first course in the Methodist Lay Servant Ministry and one of the chapters in our required reading was on Leadership.  I learned so much about the Methodist way of leadership, did you know Robert's Rules of Order aren't used?  We come to agreement by consensus, we discuss options and ideas; everyone gets a say and comes away feeling more a part of the decision than in a simple show of hands type of vote.  A couple of more suggestions were to set up a focal point in the room for every meeting-a candle or cross...something and don't have "bookend" prayers.

I continued praying and took it to heart.  At my first meeting I was so nervous, I was honestly afraid that no one would show up.  We had ten ladies that night.  My heart was full.  I had taken to heart the advice of having a focal point by offering a "reflecting point" along with a color page.  We set up a table at the front of the room with candles, the color page and used "Be the Miracle" from Bruce Almighty as our reflection.  It was such a positive and encouraging meeting.

Lately the word "refuge" has been on my heart.  I was led to the scripture Psalm 91:2 for UMW tonight.
I shared it with a friend.  Her response to me was:

HE is my refuge. But Christians get shot, get diseases and come under attack.
HE is their refuge but the disease or bullet still comes.

This shook me.  I ran to my bible and read and reread Psalm 91, all of it.  I did some research and found that it is known as the "Soldiers Prayer," it talks of being safe and not afraid of terrorists.  But bad things still happen.

This morning I saw the sky:
Suddenly I realized I was whistling "Be Thou My Vision" which happens to be one of my favorite hymns.  It's an old Irish hymn dating back to an 8th century monk who wrote it as a tribute to St. Patrick's wholehearted loyalty to God.  He had loyalty to God through the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult.

Our pastor is beginning a new sermon series on STRESS.  Let's face it we all have more than enough to go around.  Today as I was preparing for UMW and working on the bathroom stall calendars, I was focusing on stress, what a negative to focus on stress!  I traditionally use the reflection for that month from UMW on the bathroom stall calendars-this month the reflection is refuge.  Suddenly I felt a calm, a peace that yes while we may have stressful times-we may have diseases, we may have bullets coming at us-but He is our vision and we are crazy blessed that no matter what storms or trials come our way He dwells within us.  We may not understand why bad things happen, God gave up his only and believe.  Our stress can be counterbalanced when we look to Him as our REFUGE.

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