LORD OF ALL HOPEFULNESS (#363), a Hymn Devotion for 5 June 2018 Anno Domini
St. Andrews Anglican Parish Church, Alabama USA
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
Psalms 4:8 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”
This is a wonderful hymn of not so ancient origin. It will provide hope and strength in times of trouble or sorrow. The lyrics were the work of Jan Struthers in 1931 at the behest of Percy Dearmer. Ms. Struthers also wrote a very popular English novel in 1940 entitled, MRS. MINIVER. According to THE Anglican cleric, Frank Colquhoun, the text “is a work with warm human touch, a healthy spiritual tone, and well merits its popularity.” It is one of the best examples of the “all-day” hymn texts (dealing with the whole day, from morning to evening). The four stanzas begin by addressing God in terms of his attributes and then ask for specific blessings for morning, noon, evening, and night.
The tune, SLANE, is associated with an old Irish folk song, “With My Love on the Road.” The tune was adapted as a hymn tune by David Evans in 1927 and set to the Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”
LORD OF ALL HOPEFULNESS
1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
(MORNING) “1.Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy: Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.” The salient theme of this hymn is found in its title – HOPE! Hope is so very related to faith that they are almost inseparable. “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Hebrews 6:18-19) The hope set before us is that which prevents our drifting with every wind of doctrine, and enables us to set the bow of our vessel into the wind and to weather the storms of life. As a child, we believed our fathers could do ANYTHING. When I was three years old, my dad took me out before sunrise as he did every morning. The stars were bright and gleaming. The moon stood motionless and so large that it seemed a mere arms length away. I asked my dad to get for me that moon, and when he did not, I cried. The faith of a child in any possibility is the kind of faith we need as Christians in God our Father – but remember, He is able to work any miracle, and repair any hurt. If He willed it, even the moon!
(NOON) “2.Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe: Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray, your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.” God is our Protector, Preserver, and Sustainer. He stands at the ready to act on our behalf when the troubles gain the ascendency. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) Note the term in this last verse, HEART. Our works are never perfect, but they are made perfect in love which is a product of the Heart and a gift from God. The strong hands of the Carpenter of Galilee are also the hands which formed the Universe, and you and me. The strength He gives in our hearts is that first love He gave to us when He first loved us (so that we could return that love).
(EVENING VESPERS) “3.Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace: Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray, your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.” There are men and women among us whose supply of love is freely shared all the day long with fellow workers, strangers, and associates; but the supply of love for some runs out at the door of the home. They are short and easily put out by the ones that they must love the most. Home is the cradle of love and should reflect that love in speech, deed, and thought. Courtesy and good manners are evidence of that love we should have for our mothers, fathers, siblings, and sons and daughters. God does practice the same magnitude of love toward us at all points in our day, our night, and our lives. We should emulate that kind of sustaining love.
(NIGHT) “4.Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm: Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray, your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.” There are, for some, specters of worry that wander in the watches of the night; but for the heart whose focus is fixed on God, those specters are fearful of approaching. The worries, many of which are groundless, of the world are like storms in the night. We are restless and cannot sleep the sound sleep of the innocent. But the Master of the Seas is at heart’s length to say to those trouble waters, “Be Still” and the storms of worry subside and only calm remains. His Voice is a calming balm to our souls. The Holy Spirit may whisper a reminder of a precise Bible verse that answers our anxieties. “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” (Jeremiah 8:22) Yes, there is a Balm in the Gilead of our souls, and that Balm is the Lord Jesus Christ.