Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle;
tell the triumph far and wide;
tell aloud the wondrous story
of the cross, the Crucified;
tell how Christ, the world's redeemer,
vanquished death the day he died.
Bend your boughs, O tree of glory,
your relaxing sinews bend;
for a while the ancient rigor
that your birth bestowed, suspend;
and the Lord of heav'nly beauty
gently on your arms extend.
Faithful cross, true sign of triumph,
be for all the noblest tree;
none in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit your equal be;
symbol of the world's redemption,
for your burden makes us free.
"Support us, O Lord, all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Portions of this Funeral Prayer, from the Book of Common Prayer accompany our God Pause reflections for this week)
Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last.
Although I know this hymn primarily from the Good Friday liturgy, it is a powerful testimony to the core of what we believe—the mystical paradox that an unwed teenage mother could give birth to the son of God, and that a symbol of gruesome death such as the cross can become a beloved symbol of life, and life everlasting. The cross is our discomfort and our peace; our beacon to paths unknown and our safe lodging and holy rest. The cross is what carries us through the violence, through the green grass fading. It is what shows us that there are no darker rooms than those which Christ has already been through before us. It is what creates and sustains our faith, and calls us to reach out with open arms to our neighbors.
Let us pray,
Lamb of God, by your cross, you have taken away the sin of the world. Gather us into your arms, enfold us with your grace, so that we may know your constant companionship and your steadfast love, and may show that same love to all whom we meet. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord, Amen.