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Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness;
no harshness hast thou and no bitterness.
O grant to us the grace we find in thee,
that we may dwell in perfect unity.
Our hope is in no other save in thee,
our faith is built upon thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
that in thy strength we ever more endure.
“I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art” (vv. 4–5)
from Strasbourg’s Psalms (1545), translation by Elizabeth Lee Smith (1868)
Hymn 624, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
This is a lovely hymn of redemption, peace, endurance, and unity. Reading it, I am struck by the descriptive language used in characterizing our Lord Jesus as he gave his total self for us all—particularly the ideals or concepts of “perfect gentleness” and “no bitterness.” That someone could pay the ultimate price—their life—for the sake of others and do so calmly and without fight or resentment is pretty hard for my mere human brain to completely comprehend. When I do good deeds for others, at times deep in my mind I may have some cynicism about the need or perhaps even think of recognition. I try not to feel this way. I am still a Christian work in progress. Jesus was perfectly gentle and completely without bitterness as he died for our redemption.
During current times, I am so very moved by the caring and dedication of nurses and other medical professionals, grocery and meat processing workers, bus drivers, mail carriers, police officers, fire professionals, and all others who put their lives on the line for us as we contend with the COVID-19 virus. I add to this list our many Fourth Church volunteers and staff who give support and who feed those in need in our community. It is so encouraging to see that we can selflessly reflect the love and grace that Jesus demonstrated to us when he gave all of himself for us.
God of mercy, grant us peace, calm, selflessness, and the strength to endure as we continue to emerge from shelter-in-place and become accustomed to our new “now normal.” Continue to bless those who are selflessly giving of themselves for the rest of us during this crisis. We pray all of this through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Written by Ken Gaines, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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