A Hymn Devotion for 15 September 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? PSALM 11:1-3
As the time of wickedness looms more and more egregious before the eyes of the Lord, and the world yearns for remedy, there is only one resort to which we can flee for succor and that place is to our Mountain. The steep crags and crevices of the Mountain is a safe haven for the bird to escape the dangers of the walking predator. It is the same for the believer who, in these latter days, must seek to avoid the terrible wickedness which has become the common plight of the world. The world stumbles as a drunk man, screaming and lashing out at all around him. Our Mountain is made reference to in Isaiah: “1. . . . And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. * 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:1-4
The meditative hymn was written by Mrs. Mary Dana Shindler of Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1840. The tune is also by the author and bears the same title, “Flee as a Bird.” Mrs. Shindler was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church at a time when it yet bore a Christian testimony.
FLEE AS A BIRD TO YOUR MOUNTAIN
1 Flee as a bird to your mountain,
Thou who art weary of sin;
Go to the clear flowing fountain
Where you may wash and be clean.
Fly, for th’avenger is near thee,
Call, and the Savior will hear thee;
He on His bosom will bear thee,
O thou who art weary of sin,
O thou who art weary of sin.
2 He will protect thee forever,
Wipe ev’ry falling tear;
He will forsake thee, O never,
Sheltered so tenderly there.
Haste, then, the hours are flying,
Spend not the moments in sighing,
Cease from your sorrow and crying:
The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear,
The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear.
3 He is the bountiful Giver,
Now unto Him draw near;
Peace then shall flow as a river,
Thou shalt be saved from thy fear.
Hark! ’tis thy Saviour calling,
Haste, for the twilight is falling,
Flee! for the night is appalling,
And thou shalt be saved from thy fear,
And thou shalt be saved from thy fear.
1 Flee as a bird to your mountain, Thou who art weary of sin; Go to the clear flowing fountain Where you may wash and be clean. Fly, for th’avenger is near thee, Call, and the Savior will hear thee; He on His bosom will bear thee, O thou who art weary of sin, O thou who art weary of sin. The great Mountain of Stone which the builders rejected is our refuge. “1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.” PSALMS 121:1-4 We may hide our souls in the “cleft of the Rock” which is Christ. We shall there enjoy the clear mountain waters that flow down as a fountain from on high. Being nearer to God, our prayers will be effectual so that He hears and answers. As we climb the Mountain of the Lord, the world falls away from around us and only the higher peaks of glory will appear to us.
2 He will protect thee forever, Wipe ev’ry falling tear; He will forsake thee, O never, Sheltered so tenderly there. Haste, then, the hours are flying, Spend not the moments in sighing, Cease from your sorrow and crying: The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear, The Savior will wipe ev’ry tear. There is not greater and eternal security than in the Lord. The woman who bathed the feet of Jesus with her tears likely expended the tears of her life which she had collected in a ‘tear bottle’ – a common receptacle in which tears were collected to be buried with their owner; but that lady no longer needed a tear bottle when she gave her tears to Christ. The Lord not only wipes away our tears, but collects them in His bottle. Our sorrows are given over to Him. “8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? 9 When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” PSALMS 56:8-9 There will certainly be no need for a tear bottle in the Paradise of the Lord: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” REVELATIONS 21:4
3 He is the bountiful Giver, Now unto Him draw near; Peace then shall flow as a river, Thou shalt be saved from thy fear. Hark! ’tis thy Saviour calling, Haste, for the twilight is falling, Flee! for the night is appalling, And thou shalt be saved from thy fear, And thou shalt be saved from thy fear.” In the Communion Service of the Lord, we “draw near by faith” to partake of the emblems of His Body and Blood. But we do this in COMMUNION with all others of the Church Militant and the Church Glorious. The bread of which we partook is His Body. You and I, as elect members of His Church, are the many grains of wheat that comprise the whole Bread. We are One in Christ. If we be divided in our fellowship, something is amiss in that oneness. Christ is the Giver of Life and of all good things. Like the ancient river in Persia called the Zayanderud (Giver of Life), abundant life and nourishment follows in the wake of wherever Christ goes. He is the Giver of Life and the River which flows in pristine streams. The life of man is as a vapor, or a flower which blows on the desert air – it is fleeting. We may believe we have forever to make amends for a life of sin, but we do not. The sun has reached it zenith and many are still hiding in the shadows. Soon, the dark veil of night shall fall in which no man can work. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” JOHN 9:4 Tarry not to heed the call of the Spirit: “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 2 CORINTHIANS 6:1-2