Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lenten Series #22: Great is Thy Faithfulness

One of my favorite hymns is "Great is Thy Faithfulness", a staple hymn in the Baptist church. I learned this song as a child (I pick it up from hearing my mom sing it as solos and with choirs). This song was one of the first I can recall singing as child at local churches in Baltimore for what used to be known as "Joy Nights". These were service held in many small churches that brought people out on like a Friday night  for something similar to a talent show (except no judges or prizes, but everyone got to leave with a bit of Joy!) .  They (one of my adopted aunts) say I took the hymnal up at the age of eight and sang like I knew what God's faithfulness was all about.
Now that I am older, I can fully appreciate this hymn for many reasons, but the one that stands out is that it is a reminder that God's faithfulness is not reliant on me! Sometimes I just got to lift my head up and say "Thank God for that!" because how often have I turned my back on God and every time, God remains there with open arms waiting and calling me to come back. Turning my back on God was not just because God and I were at odds. But sometimes it was simply because I did not take fully God's commandment on loving and caring for my sisters and brothers. 

I came across this prayer that I had written for a service at Candler (my seminary), that came from deep meditation of the hymn. I thought it would be appropriate to share:

O God, the Faithful One, how great are you and how we acknowledge your awesome presence.

You are merciful, O Faithful One.
 Every morning you provide us with new opportunities to get it right.  
Yet, we fail to provide the same to our sisters and brothers.

You are compassionate, O Faithful One,
Your love never fails, for you are the same, yesterday and today and forevermore.
 Yet, we have a hard time faithfully loving even those within our community

You are omnipresent, O Faithful One,
We see your handiwork throughout all of nature, and as Creator you remain within your creation. 
Yet, we miss the mark for standing for justice and seeking voice for those who are oppressed.
Therefore, we call upon you to be our strength for today, and give us bright hopes for tomorrow. Awaken the desire in us to look beyond ourselves, so we may see the need to be faithful to the whole of your creation.
We pray this prayer Giver of Peace, Pardoner of Sin, and Provider of all we ever needed. Amen.

My mom, the one and only Sherry Lynne Hunt, sang for many years with the Morgan State University Choir under the direction of the late Dr. Nathan Mitchell Carter. I was therefore a “child of the choir” and was at every rehearsal, and almost all concerts.  Dr. Carter had an arrangement of Great is Thy Faithfulness that moved me every time I heard it, even today.  I found this clip on youtube (soloist, the late countertenor Ernest Saunders) , and I sincerely hope it blesses you as it has blessed me! 

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,

No comments: