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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 6 Great is Thy Faithfulness

Norwegian: Stor er din trofasthet


Jesus and the Woman with an Issue of Blood. Third century

Text: Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960) Tune: William Runyan (1870-1957)


1. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee.

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;

As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

R/Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


2. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

R/


3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

R/

 

REFLECTION

This is a gospel song which is sheer gospel. Not only is the text filled with Scripture, but the tune is wonderful to sing. While there is no mention of the texts for this coming Sunday, it is a song both of the women Jesus healed and their family and friends could sing with their whole hearts.


Jesus Healing Woman with Issue of Blood 6th century

Mark's account gives it the most suspense—while Jesus is on his way to raise the dead girl, he is stopped by an unclean woman who has been healed by touching the hem of his garment. While Jairus and we, the readers are urgent about his daughter, Jesus takes time with the woman. We wait for her story to be told and then go on to where the girl is lying dead. In both cases Jesus’ works a miracle that astonishes everyone. The woman has been suffering her illness for a long as the young girl has been alive. And she is healed simply by touching the hem of his garment. There is even a laughable moment: the disciples are shocked when he asks, “Who touched me?” By their lights, everyone has. Jesus of course is divine and feels the power leaving him. And the woman knew it too.

 

Suddenly she feels whole and healthy. Maybe her healing is nothing beside the raising of the dead daughter of Jairus, but her sense of being healed is clear and something we can imagine with thanksgiving. We can also imagine the thanksgiving with which Jairus and his wife see their daughter back to life. Jesus has come to make things right, not just in eternal measures, but in our daily lives. “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,” is how the song puts it, along with “morning by morning new mercies I see.”


Raising of Jairus' Daughter Ilya Repin 1871

The Christian life is one of surprises. Sheer routine—the fact that the sun rises regularly every day is a miracle, something to give thanks for and surprising—but there are those moments when something happens we did not expect that completely overshadows our expectation. Sometimes we don’t even recognize it and need someone to point it out.

 

To be healed, made whole again. Scholars have pointed out that wherever Jesus goes he heals both soul and body, forgiving sins and healing the body. Jesus is all about life and wholeness. Since he is eternal life, there can be no death where he is, except his own, over which is was victorious. I read a story a long time ago about a woman of a certain age who saw something like angels in her back yard. They floated in to her and touched her, drawing out of her her many pains and sorrows. She felt resurrected. maybe that is what the resurrection will feel like, an utter new creation. We really can't know until then, but for now we have these daily little miracles that fill us with joy and hope. “Blessings all mine and ten thousand beside.”

 

What else can we sing, along with millions of others, “Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”

  

HYMN INFO


Thomas O. Chisholm

Thomas O. Chisholm, was born in Franklin, Kentucky in 1866. After his conversion, he began working for the Pentecostal Herald. He became a minister in the M. E. Church South. When he spoke of his work, he said he wanted his hymns to be Scriptural. In his greatest hymn, he used Lamentations 3:23 as his source. “God is faithful, his mercies are new every morning.”


William Runyan, the composer, is who made the hymn so beloved. Born in Marion New York, he began serving as a Methodist minister in 1891. He became most interested in evangelism and served the Central Methodist Conference. He then returned to being a pastor at Federated Church at John Brown University in Arkansas. He also worked with the Moody Institute and began as an editor at Hope Publishing Company where he worked until 1948.

 

LINKS

Cathedral singing


Veritas

 

 

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