Students sitting outside Bockman
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence ev'ry passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me!

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes,
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heav'n's morning breaks,
and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

If you access the following web address you will find an almost haunting version of this old hymn favorite:

This version of the hymn resonates with the rich emotions of this song. Like the psalmists who looked for joy even in times of trouble, Henry F. Lyte wrote this song at a time when he was dying of tuberculosis. On my grandmother's 90th birthday, she requested that all her grandchildren sing this hymn "Abide With Me"—from memory of course! Even though absolutely beautiful, this is not a familiar song of my generation. For twenty-one grandchildren, the majority of whom are millennials, this was a tall order.

She may have picked this song thinking that it would perhaps be the last time she would hear us sing together. However, I believe these words are not so much steeped in the darkness of death but in the comfort of a life well lived. Even when our prayers are raised in times of trouble—like the psalmists the author reveals his trust in God: "Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me."

Faithful God, even in the midst of the darkness of troubles, help us in trust to know your abiding presence that binds us to you and to one another in love. Amen.

Erin Martinson
Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church
Ventura, Calif.
Master of Divinity , 2000

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.