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.
There is no hymn that better acknowledges God’s loving presence when we need it most.
The prayers of the biblical Psalms often beg for God’s presence in the face of pain and despair and this hymn echoes both that need and the promises of God. There are many moments in our lives when our frailty and mortality are exposed and raw, and we look for both comfort and hope. In Christ we have our “Emmanuel,” God with us. God in the flesh. The water of life, who goes thirsty; the bread of life, who goes hungry; the light of the world, who is cast into outer darkness; the Prince of Peace, who suffers from human cruelty and violence unto death. When medicine no longer cures, when relationships collapse and can’t be salvaged, when what seemed so secure, no longer is, we plead, “Abide with me.”
God of love, abide with us through all the dark places in our lives and help us to cling to the promise of your healing presence. Amen.