Sometimes I catch myself going through the motions at church. I get caught up in the routine of doing this, then this, then that and I forget to focus on the moment – to absorb what each part of the service can offer.
Last Sunday, the congregation sang a song I’ve heard many times, and for the first few stanzas I sang along, focusing on the singing of the words but not on their message. Somewhere during the fourth verse, I slowed down enough to focus on the words and think about what they mean.
This particular hymn is an old one called “How Firm a Foundation.” Maybe the fact that it’s one my mother, grandmother and probably great-grandmother sang, woke me up to the possibility of considering the message instead of the music. Of course, old hymns like this one are often full of “thee,” “thou” and other archaic words which make them hard to understand or relate to. So I mentally translated the lyrics into today’s language and was amazed how relevant this old song still is. Here’s the message I took away from the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation”:
The Bible is a firm foundation for your faith. If you’re looking for relief or protection, He has already said all you need to know, and it’s in the Bible.
“Don’t worry. I’m with you. Don’t be anxious because I am God and I’ll help you. I am righteous and all-knowing, and I’ll hold you up.”
“Even when you go through hard times, you won’t be destroyed because I’ll be with you. I’ll use those hard times to make you better than ever.”
“When your path takes you through the fire, I will give you my grace and love, and that will be all you need. I will only allow the flames to burn away the garbage in your life and to purify and polish the best parts of you.”
“If you will just lean on me and rest in me, I won’t leave you. Even if evil tries to shake your very soul, I will never, ever give up on you.”
Some of the most beautiful, powerful messages are right there in the hymnal, hidden in the old traditional songs our fore-mamas sang before us. Next time you have the chance, consider translating one into modern speech, and see if it doesn’t say something you can think about.
From one mama to another, I hope you have a blessed Sunday with your family.