Thursday, April 5, 2018
"I'd sing (about) the character he bears and all the forms of love he wears."
Hymn: “O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth” – Samuel Medley (1738-1799)
Tune: ARIEL (based on a melody from Mozart)
Even though this hymn appears in over 600 hymnals, it is not one that all of us know. It is in none of the current major denominational books; for Baptists (my ilk), the last appearance was in the 1954 “old blue” hymnal! I couldn’t even find a decent setting of it online for you to hear. It is not an easy tune to sing, but it is a good devotional text.
We use the word “bearing” to describe a person’s attitude, manner, demeanor… even posture. It’s sort of archaic, but we still use it to describe how someone comes into a room and how they are perceived.
There is a certain character with which Christ carries himself. It is the highest-level of character development, and it is the plane toward which we strive. In drama-talk, we discuss the character (true nature) of the character (role). In well-developed scripts, the “real” moral fiber is exposed… often gradually. So it is with our spiritual life: over time, who we really are comes to the surface. It is hoped, of course, that we have advanced to a Christ-like disposition which comes naturally to us… has become our “true nature” – our character.
I am particularly drawn to the second half of this hymnline: “all the forms of love he wears.” By his very nature, Christ is loving. We learned that in the church nursery (or cradle roll if you go back as far as I do). He is loving in so many ways: his love takes on so many shapes. He WEARS love. I’m a visual learner, so that brings a great picture to my mind and helps me further grasp the deep, deep love of Jesus.
O, that wherever I may be found, I would bear the character (true nature) of Christ and that I might wear (display) his love automatically.
See this hymn at http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/HFLC1974/page/60