18 October 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then saith he unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Gospel of St. Matthew 26:38-39; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This hymn was composed for Good Friday by Peter Abelard in 1191 based on the exceeding great love of our Lord Jesus Christ. The hymn was translated from Latin to English by F. Bland Tucker in 1938. The tune is BANGOR by William Tan’sur (1738). There is a comical account concerning how the name of the tune was used to name a city in Maine in 1791. A minister was assigned to go to the capital to register the city as an incorporated municipality. As the clerk was drawing up the papers, the minister was humming the tune, BANGOR. The clerk asked, “What is the name (meaning of the city), but the minister thought he was asking the name of the tune. So the city has been named Bangor, Maine ever since.
ALONE THOU GOEST FORTH
Alone thou goest forth, O Lord,
In sacrifice to die;
Is this Thy sorrow naught to us
Who pass unheeding by?
Our sins, not thine, Tho bearest, Lord;
Make us Thy sorrow feel,
Till through our pity and our shame
Love answers love’s appeal.
This is earth’s darkest hour, but Thou
Canst light and life restore;
Then let all praise be given to Thee
Who livest evermore.
Grant us to suffer with Thee, Lord,
That, as we share this hour,
Thy Cross may bring us to Thy joy
And resurrection power.
Alone thou goest forth, O Lord, In sacrifice to die; Is this Thy sorrow naught to us Who pass unheeding by? One great comfort of the Christian elect is this – he will not have to cross Jordan Banks alone. Why not? Because the only one who could redeem him of his sins had to do so alone and abandoned by all. Many merchants and commoners who passed by Mt. Calvary during the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory on that dreadful Friday had not the least idea that the central Figure of the cross was dying in their stead for their sins.
Our sins, not thine, Tho bearest, Lord; Make us Thy sorrow feel, Till through our pity and our shame Love answers love’s appeal. Our Lord was adjudicated innocent of all sin by the same judge who sentenced him to death, Pontius Pilot. Caiaphus had unwittingly prophesied of the purpose of our Lord’s death: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;” (John 11:49-51) There was only ONE who could die for the people and the Church, and that was the sinless Lord Jesus Christ. The only answer to that great love abundantly streaming for the cross was to return that love in kind – though of a lesser degree. We merely reflect the love shed abroad by Christ and are not the source of it.
This is earth’s darkest hour, but Thou Canst light and life restore; Then let all praise be given to Thee Who livest evermore. There was a mothering darkness that occurred at the sixth until the ninth hour at Calvary (12 noon until 3 PM – the time of the sin offering in the Temple). Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was the sin-offering and the Lamb of God sacrificed from before the foundation of the world for our sins. For three long hours of darkness, the Light of the World and of Life flickered without the gate of the city. This moment was both the world’s darkest hour, and the moment when a burning and brilliant Light was beamed from the Throne of God as Christ declared – “It is finished.” (John 19:30)The yearning of centuries, and millennia, from the days of Eden until now was fulfilled and sealed at that very utterance. The work of our Redemption was FINISHED!
Grant us to suffer with Thee, Lord, That, as we share this hour, Thy Cross may bring us to Thy joy And resurrection power. Following in the Way of Christ is not a matter of lip-service, but of dedication and commitment. Our State of Grace is confirmed in good works that follow our moment of justification. Following Christ must include that Way of (Via) Dolorosa. Our cross must be born all the way to the death of self and life in Christ. “And he said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Paul declared that he died daily, and so must we. It may not be on a crude and terrible cross as that of our Lord, but we die to our selfish greed and desires in placing our invested love in others for the sake of Christ. If our Lord loved the beaten and robbed man on the Road to Jericho, so must we. It may cost us precious time, precious oil, precious money, precious comfort – yet we must reflect that same love demonstrated by the Good Samaritan, Our Lord, to others we find hurt and left for dead on the road of life. That includes those who know not the Lord whose bodies’ are alive with physical life, but whose souls are dead in trespasses and sins. Someone must share the message with them, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.