Warning: this post contains strong religious sentiments that could offend some and overt sentiment which could offend others!

I have a secret to tell you: I like hymns. There – it’s out! But don’t judge me too harshly. It’s all because of a childhood isolated from pop culture. The hymns of my parents have stood through my faith’s formation.

One hymn in particular runs through the thousand changes in my life. I can remember the first time we met.

It was about twenty-five years ago, in a church in the north of England. The minister was enthusiastic as he introduced a new hymn from their new hymnal. It spoke of God making peace with us, giving our lives hope – now and in the future.

My mother loved it. When we returned to our African home she looked it up in a Baptist Hymnal that a friend had supplied. I learned to play it. The hymn spoke of God and His unfailing goodness.

The hymn book returned to our birth country with us. The hymn spoke of God providing for every need we would have – even when we couldn’t see it happening.

When I arrived in Australia I found that our family favourite was listed as one of the most-loved hymns of all time. It speaks of how God alone is constant, totally dependable in any situation. My family still sing it at significant birthdays and anniversaries.

It was sung in churches after the tsunami came and killed thousands. My birth country was one of the hardest hit. It was surreal because our first child, half-Sri-Lankan, was born the morning after. The hymn was sung again last month after Black Saturday’s bush-fires.

My father died two weeks before those fires. We sang the hymn at his funeral. It is testament to that single Thread that ran through his life: many-coloured but importantly, scarlet. It ran from birth to manhood, old age and death: a life stretched across three very different continents.

The hymn is?

‘Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee…

If you live in the U.S. or Canada, visit Hope Publishing to view the lyrics.

If you don’t, they have been reproduced by permission at Lee Marshall Music.

Note that copyright of this hymn is held by Hope Publishing, and it cannot be reproduced in any form without prior written consent from the copyright holder.

If you’re after a bit of background on the hymn, try www.hymnary.org.

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6 Responses to “Whose faithfulness?”

  1. I agree……wholeheartedly. Mine is “it is well”

  2. Yep – love that one too!

  3. indeed, I love hymns as well, and loved the ones I got to sing on Easter. In my opinion, the older the hymn, the better they are! The beauty of lines like, “Oh sacred head now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down”… beautiful.

  4. My favorite too!

    My ‘first’ hymn, as a new believer was: How Great Thou Art. I remember sitting in the backseat of my brother’s car, returning from somewhere, memorizing it.

    I also love non-hymns, and have a great dislike for songs in the ‘hymnal’ that are mostly about ‘us’ and ‘our experience’…but we won’t go there! 😀


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