Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The sword hangs suspended

1020 C. M.
Impending judgments.

COME, let our souls adore the Lord,
   Whose judgments yet delay;
   Who yet suspends the lifted sword,
   And gives us time to pray.

2 Great is our guilt; our fears are great,
   But let us not despair;
   Still open is the mercy-seat
   To penitence and prayer.

3 Kind Intercessor, to thy love
   This blessed hope we owe:
   O let thy merits plead above,
   While we implore below.

4 Though justice near thy awful throne
   Attends thy dread command,
   Lord, hear thy servants, hear thy Son,
   And save a guilty land.
                         Anne Steele
                         Methodist Episcopal hymnal (1870 edition)

<idle musing>
What I find interesting is that this hymnal has a section entitled Public Fasts, from which the last two hymns I've posted came. When was the last time you saw a hymnal with a section like that?!

The other thing I noticed is that the first verse contains an illusion to the census that David took toward the end of his reign, with the result that a plague swept through the land. The angel of the Lord was about to strike Jerusalem, but YHWH orders him to to pause, giving David time to intercede. Hence the suspended sword.

The question is, how long will the sword remain suspended over our divided and hate and violence riddled land? Or is the hate and violence a form of judgment for our selfishness? I can't pretend to know the answer to that…
</idle musing>

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