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Friday, May 8, 2020
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
no angel visitant, no opening skies;
but take the dimness of my soul away
“Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart” (v. 2) by George Croly
Hymn 688, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
Today’s hymn was written by a nineteenth-century Anglican priest who served two parishes in the slums of London.
“I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
no angel visitant, no opening skies; but take the dimness of my soul away.”
There are times in life when “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” can indeed dim one’s soul. The current pandemic is an example of troublous times. So much fear and loss surrounds humanity now with so many uncertainties.
In times such as these I have often longed for a manifestation of God’s power—with dreams or visions or angel visitation to quell the rising fear. I want to believe that what humanity needs at this time will be met by the God who leads us to repentance and renewal.
My father used to share with me stories about his experience in World War II on the battlefields of France. When fear would arise in his heart he would repeat the Twenty-Third Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” In repeating these words his heart was strengthened and refocused.
There are times when it is difficult to believe that God is with us when we are gripped in the clutches of our pain and confusion.
I may not experience spiritual fireworks; however, I find it wondrous indeed that when I simply call “Send Help!” I discover that something in me is opened and met. I know God is present and I am not alone. There may not be ready answers for the struggle, but God’s grace will see us through.
“Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.” (Hebrews 13:20–21). Amen.
Written by Susan Cornelius, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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