Sunday, 3 July 2011

Of pardon, grace, and peace

The Gospel reading at church this morning was:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I associate this passage with Compline, where it's one of the regular readings - a dark chapel, candlelight, and stillness - and also with this hymn. It's by William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), who wrote one of my favourite Christmas carols, 'As with gladness men of old'. It's not, to be honest, particularly inspired, but there's no turning that Gospel passage into anything less than beauty.

1. "Come unto Me, ye weary,
And I will give you rest."
O blessed voice of Jesus
Which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction,
Of pardon, grace, and peace,
Of joy that hath no ending,
Of love which cannot cease.

2. "Come unto Me, dear children,
And I will give you light."
O loving voice of Jesus
Which comes to cheer the night!
Our hearts were filled with sadness,
And we had lost our way;
But morning brings us gladness,
And songs the break of day.

3. "Come unto Me, ye fainting,
And I will give you life."
O peaceful voice of Jesus
Which comes to end our strife!
The foe is stern and eager,
The fight is fierce and long;
But Thou hast made us mighty,
And stronger than the strong.

4. "And whosoever cometh
I will not cast him out."
O patient love of Jesus
Which drives away our doubt;
Which calls us, very sinners,
Unworthy though we be
Of love so free and boundless,
To come, dear Lord, to Thee!

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