Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav'n, to earth come down!
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter ev'ry trembling heart.
Breathe, oh, breathe thy loving Spirit
into ev'ry troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit;
let us find thy promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
Finish then thy new creation,
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee!
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav'n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise!
Every time I sing this hymn, I'm back at my best friend's wedding, standing in front of a packed, majestic sanctuary. I'm wearing full maid of honor garb, bursting with pride to be next to the beautiful bride. We're joined by organ and brass, singing our hearts out, claiming God's great gifts of salvation, love and glory. It has been nearly six years since my best friend's wedding. Since then I have sung this hymn many more times, in many different sanctuaries, on Sunday mornings and at funerals. The occasions may have been less majestic, less obviously joy-filled than the wedding, and yet the hymn's promises have stayed ever-bold. In our singing we demand its claims in many contexts--in times of celebration, the mundane and the hardships of life--breathe in and among us, God. Be our beginning and our end. Give us your glory. Make us holy as you are holy.