“Come, Ye Disconsolate” (ELW 607)
1 Come, ye disconsolate, wheree’er ye languish;
come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
2 Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure;
here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”
3 Here see the Bread of life; see waters flowing
forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.
When I first discovered this hymn while introducing the new ELW worship book to the congregation I pastored, I thought it was a recent hymn. “No!” an older member corrected me. “That’s an old one!” Clearly, I hadn’t checked the composers’ dates at the bottom of the page. But I’d also never heard this song before. Have we been better at proclaiming hope than at holding space for lament?
It need not be one or the other. Paul writes, “[Do] not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13), reminding people of our hope in Christ—not telling them to hide (from) their grief. There is much to mourn in this broken world. My heart has been heavy this spring for the many lives lost and dreams deferred due to COVID-19. I know God is with us always and life will have the final word. But I also know sorrow is real. When we are in pain, I’m thankful for a hymn that gives voice to both our hurt and our hope.
God, when we are disconsolate, invite us again to come to you, where it’s safe to tell our anguish, and where your mercy heals. Amen.