Blest Be the Tie That Binds (ELW 656)
1 Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the unity of heart and mind
is like to that above.
2 Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
3 We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.
4 From sorrow, toil, and pain,
and sin we shall be free;
and perfect love and friendship reign
through all eternity.
It recently occurred to me that, when bidding farewell to a church that I have served, I have usually chosen this hymn. Perhaps it is due to the hymn’s back-story. Pastor John Fawcett was preparing to leave the church that he had served for many years, and overnight, he had written this hymn. The wagon was loaded, the family was dressed for travel; but through the singing and the tears of this hymn, Fawcett changed his mind. These people were just too important to him.
Congregations, even at their very best, can be contentious, and critical, and snarky. But because of all the “mutual woes and mutual burdens” shared” it’s always hard to leave.
I hope you have known that sort of koinonia among those with whom you have been bound in Christ. Fellowship divine is what is. I am reminded of an African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” May that be so for you.
Gracious God, we thank you for the Church, the Body of Christ in this world. Indeed, we have been blest! Amen.