“Abide with Me” (ELW 629)
1 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.
2 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.
3 I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me.
4 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!
5 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Having sung in choirs much of his life, my father included in his “End of Life Directive” having old-time hymns playing at his bedside. As I sat with him listening to hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Beautiful Savior,” “Amazing Grace,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “A Mighty Fortress,” and “Abide with Me,” I tried to add my voice and words, but I sang haltingly as tears and memories came gushing. Yet, we both prayed, in our own way, for God to abide with me—with us—as we journeyed to his life’s end.
In this week’s readings: Solomon depends on God’s wisdom; the psalmist rejoices in God’s guidance; Paul is secure in the inseparable love of Jesus; and Matthew reveals God’s kingdom present in small and treasured gifts. All reflect the promise of and our need for God’s abiding presence for, with, and under us and all creation. In and through Jesus as God’s wisdom, word, guide, and gift, we are never abandoned—not even in our dying.
Jesus, we “need thy presence every passing hour.” Abide with us “through cloud and sunshine”—oh, abide with us. Amen.