Hymns for Him: God in Person

April 1st, 2012

How can impersonal Mind or Principle be “my best friend”? Why do I need a Savior to “make my heaven secure,” if heaven is the unchanging reign of Spirit or atmosphere of Soul?

Christian Scientists who sing the familiar Hymn 224, “O Lord, I would delight in thee,” are juggling such contradictions as these between Mrs. Eddy’s metaphysics and the God of the Bible, whether they know it or not.

I and my family concluded we couldn’t live without the intimate friendship of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – God in person – even if it meant a break with our Christian Science upbringing.

Did the faint echoes of the Gospel in this and many other “adapted” hymnal selections help move us to that conclusion? It’s hard to say, but I believe Jesus uses every smallest opening to shine his saving light into the darkness of our self-salvation fallacy.

You can read below, the Christian Science Hymnal adaptation (1932) of John Ryland’s original Baptist verses (1777). Where new phrasing has been substituted, Ryland’s words are shown afterward in brackets.

Despite the metaphysicalizing changes – to avoid saying that the Creator made this earth, for example, or that Christ died – we get the persistent sense of man’s need for a Savior who is, inconveniently, God in person!

Hymn 224

O Lord, I would [Grant Lord, I may] delight in thee,

And on thy care depend;

To thee in every trouble flee,

My best, my ever [only] friend.
When all material [created] streams are dried,

Thy fulness is the same;

May I with this be satisfied,

And glory in thy name!

All good where’er it may [No good in creatures can] be found,

Its source doth find [But all is found] in thee;

I must have all things [be blessed], and abound,

While God is [thou art] God to me.
O that I had a stronger faith

To look within the veil,

To credit what my Savior saith,

Whose word can never fail!

He that has [Thou that hast] made my [our] heaven secure,
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, can I [we] be poor?
What can I lack beside? [Christ who for us has died!]
O Lord, I cast my care on thee,

I triumph and adore;

Henceforth my great concern shall be

To love and please thee more.

The author can be reached at backboneradio@aol.com

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