NOW EVERY MORNING IS THE LOVE – a hymn devotion for 27 September 2016 Anno Domini
21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lam 3:21-23 (KJV)
The author of this precious old hymn was the Rev. John Keble, an Anglican cleric of two centuries ago whose legacy was tarnished by his affiliation with the Oxford Movement. It appears first as a poem in his extensive and informative book of poetry entitled, THE CHRISTIAN YEAR, published in 1827. The poem was put to a musical score (Melcombe) composed earlier (1782) by Samuel Webbe. The tune may have first been played to another hymn at the Foundling Hospital in London under the patronage of George Frederick Handel.
The overriding component of God’s mercy is His unconditional and unsurpassed Love which He bears for His elect Children. That is the focus of the hymn written at a time in history when love burned more brightly in the hearts of men in general society.
NEW EVERY MORNING IS THE LOVE
New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.
Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
as more of heaven in each we see;
some softening gleam of love and prayer
shall dawn on every cross and care.
The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we ought to ask:
room to deny ourselves; a road
to bring us daily nearer God.
Only, O Lord, in thy dear love,
fit us for perfect rest above;
and help us, this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray.
The joy that comes in the morning dews and damps as the sun, with majestic colors of art and beauty, appears on the distant horizon, is herald of the love of God for man and beast in preparing such beauty and daily renewal before us. His Table is full of love, mercy, and compassion for His creatures. “New every morning is the love our wakening and uprising prove; through sleep and darkness safely brought, restored to life and power and thought.” The very fact that our mind, body, and soul is refreshed with sleep that is a function of a free and unburdened conscience is ample proof of our Maker’s love for us. The awakening from our natural sleep is akin to our soon awakening from our spiritual sleep in Christ at the moment of His Coming. We are watched over by the Angels of the Lord in both until our souls are brought to a full reconciliation with that perfect and glorified body with which He will embue each of His saints in Glory.
“New mercies, each returning day, hover around us while we pray; new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.” This verse could very easily have been inspired by the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, had it been available to the composer. When we think of something being renewed, we may consider that the former has ‘worn out’ and become useless; but that would not be true for the love of God is a continual renewal of itself so that the whole is never diminished. The mercies that hover around us in our sleep go unnoticed, but are there nonetheless throughout the long night of earth and that long night of life as well. But our awakening moments, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, draw us to the altar of prayer and into a closer Communion with the Lord our God. It is a consciously growing closer in praying His will – and not our own, be done – for His will shall always benefit us more than our own feeble wills. The mountains we imagined yesterday have settled into valleys, and the sins that our wayward souls committed are forgiven anew when repentance is exercised. Our thoughts again are stayed on God, and our hopes of Heaven grow more vivid.
“If on our daily course our mind be set to hallow all we find, new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.” Indeed, God has already provided the One Sacrifice that annuls all others. It is the greatest Sacrifice every made, or ever could have been made; and it was made out of a Heart that new no limits on provision of love and mercy. We hallow each day as if our last for the day is destined when it will veritably be our last in this mortal body of clay. That Sacrifice of God looms over us as the Balm of Gilead when we live holy and committed lives to God.
The heart is most merry in the gentle balm of morning. Things common just a few hours earlier are suddenly graced with a magnificent beauty and wonder. Old friends are friendlier and more joyful to behold. “Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be, as more of heaven in each we see; some softening gleam of love and prayer shall dawn on every cross and care.” Man is made in the image of God, and the morning hours reveal more of God’s imprint on the visage of His Creation. God has given us pets to love, creatures of labor to care for, and a Garden in which to renew our labors lost in Adam’s race. Even labors of sweat and tears will be etched with the sweet love and prayerful contemplation. HOW BLEST WE ARE!
“The trivial round, the common task, will furnish all we ought to ask: room to deny ourselves; a road
to bring us daily nearer God.” Ah, yes! The denial of self is not so easy as we often aver. We may believe we deny self, but do we truly deny self to the extreme of considering the needs of others of greater import than our own? Our labors under the sun will provide for our physical needs if not our fleshly wants. In fact, honest labor bears within itself the seeds of contentment and honest living. We are never so poor that we cannot share in the poverty of others in lifting their hearts with a generous gift of food, water, or sunshine. This is the Bright and Heavenly Way!
“Only, O Lord, in thy dear love, fit us for perfect rest above; and help us, this and every day, to live more nearly as we pray.” The words of this verse make me hope that my prayers match the meaning of that prayer the Lord taught us to pray (The Lord’s Prayer). Obedience and reverence for His Word prepares us for that perfect rest above. And if we prayer in accordance with His express will, we will be blest to live more nearly as we pray. We ask not for pearls and rubies, but only for this day and for our daily bread. We pray earnestly for His will to be done and for OUR wills to be surrendered to His. We ask for the same measure of forgiveness that we practice against others. We further ask that the Lord will bar Satan’s approach in tempting us; and if Satan lurks in the shadows about us, that we shall be delivered from his cunning and treacherous ways.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Matt 6:9-13 (KJV)
Please observe that a prayer that is full of the Will of God and devoid of the will of self is actually quite brief. God already KNOWS our needs and petitions. If His Will be done, what else is needful?