Friday, July 20, 2018

As I Journey

Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 61:4
Israel came to know God while they were still a pilgrim people. Long before there was a temple of wood and stone, there was a tabernacle—a tent that could be carried from place to place—in which God was said to dwell. Longing for God was expressed, then, as dwelling in God's tent, even while the pilgrim was on the move The faithful felt as secure and happy there as a baby bird under the shadow of its parents' wings.

Christians, too, are a pilgrim people, and know the tabernacle not as a tent, but as a body—the body of Christ, the church. No song captures the connection between the Hebrew discovery and the Christian experience of God's presence better than this song written by the Roman Catholic Petites Sœurs de Jésus (here sung by Anabaptists):

Lord Jesus, you shall be my song as I journey;
I'll tell everybody about you wherever I go:
you alone are our life and our peace and our love.
Lord Jesus, you shall be my song as I journey.

Lord Jesus, I'll praise you as long as I journey;
May all of my joy be a faithful reflection of you.
May the earth and the sea and the sky join my song.
Lord Jesus, I'll praise you as long as I journey.

As long as I live, Jesus, make me your servant,
to carry your cross 
    and to share all your burdens and tears.
For you saved me by giving your body and blood.
As long as I live, Jesus, make me your servant.

I fear in the dark and the doubt of my journey;
but courage will come 
    with the sound of your steps by my side.
And will all of the family you saved by your love,
we'll sing to your dawn at the end of our journey.

And if that song comes close, then perhaps this prayer by the Anglicans of New Zealand comes even closer:

God, you have given us a lodging in this world but not an abiding city. Help us, as a pilgrim people, to endure hardness, knowing that at the end of our journey Christ has prepared a place for us. Amen. 
—A New Zealand Prayer Book

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