Hymn: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” – Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)
Tune: HYMN TO JOY
I love a good play on words. That’s probably why I like country music! One of my favorite turns-of-phrase is the title of one of my high school friend Stella Parton’s song “I’m Not That Good at Goodbye.”
In this hymnline from one of the truly great hymns of the Christian faith, the turn of phrase – the play on words – is not just clever: it is true. The One who is always giving in abundance is also constantly forgiving with similar lavishness! While Christ is in the business of providing for our good, he is at the same time erasing our not-so-good… our mistakes, our wrongs.
From the same generous hand comes both good gifts and forgiveness… provision and clemency… blessing and pardon.
This is a simple-yet-profound reality… one which seems too basic to even mention. It is that kind of truth about which we need to be reminded, because it can be so easily overlooked or – God forbid – forgotten.
Today, keep in mind that our Savior is constantly available to afford us blessing upon blessing… even the most basic provisions for our earthly existence. At the same time, when we mess up, he is standing by, ready to apply his merciful eraser. We don’t use the word ‘err’ much anymore, but we are consistently doing it! We continue to be errant children of God; and in his ‘mercy higher than the heavens, deeper than the deepest sea,’ the Head of the family is erasing our errors. Best of all, he is forgetting them! That still baffles me.
The next time you sing this hymn, add a measure with the words “and forgetting.” It’s four syllables, so it fits! Just add four notes to the Beethoven tune, then keep singing!
“Thou art giving and forgiving and forgetting, ever blessing, ever blessed.”
A Grand British Singing of This Hymn
SPEAKING OF FORGIVENESS: I am heading into a week of preparation for another one of my not-for-profit ventures (Waxahachie's Old Fashioned Singing Project) and our fall concert weekend. Therefore, I may not make it with a hymnline every morning. But with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesus, I say, "I'll be back."