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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 21, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

When morning gilds the skies,
my heart awaking cries:
may Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer
to Jesus I repair:
may Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind?
A solace here I find:
may Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss?
My comfort still is this:
may Jesus Christ be praised!

“When Morning Gilds the Skies” (vv. 12) translated by Edward Caswall
Hymn 667, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

I write as the world is hunkering down, distancing ourselves from one another to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The New York Times on March 16 said, “The coronavirus is not only spreading, but also infecting societies with a sense of insecurity, fear, and fragmentation. Above all, it has severed humanity from its conceit of control and of the invincibility of its institutions, science, technology, and democracies.”

This context gives new meaning to the words of this hymn. When dawn comes, my heart rejoices that I am still alive, and not sick. Whether I’m working from home or in the office, whether praying with words or simply breathing the reality that we all need help from God, I can turn to Jesus to repair my spirit. When I am sad about not being able to visit my mother because her senior center has banned visitors, and sad because so many people have already suffered and died, I can find consolation when I turn to Jesus Christ. I remember that my mother and others are held in God’s everlasting arms, even though I am not to touch or embrace people. God—and perhaps God alone—can repair, mend, restore, and comfort us when the world around us seems to be collapsing.

This hymn acknowledges that earthly bliss sometimes fades. Such is the season we are in now, across the globe. Nonetheless, through it all, God abides with us. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. As we sometimes affirm in worship: “Jesus Christ lived for us; died for us; rose in power for us; prays for us.” Indeed, may Jesus Christ be praised!

We turn to you, everlasting God, in our helplessness and fear. Protect our health: physically, spiritually, and morally. Move us towards one another in compassion. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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