Sunday, August 26, 2012

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I sang this (not very loudly) while walking the dog the other morning.
Come, thou fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount—I'm fixed upon it—
mount of thy redeeming love.
These aren't the Scriptures of course, but we can still observe, interpret, and apply what we find here.

The first thing I notice is the use of the familiar forms "thou" and "thy". This squares with what I saw when looking idly at a French Bible: God is referred to as "tu"/"toi" (singular/familiar) rather than "vous" (formal or plural). This practice is not universally agreed, as the NASB and NKJV editors (for example) Capitalize pronouns when referring to God -- even as (in the NASB case) they use that singular/familiar form (thou, thee, etc.) -- ironic!

The song calls to the fount of every blessing. This is a fountain of blessing, not a faucet or a dripping eave! The sun comes up every morning, God's mercies are new every morning, every moment there's air for us to breathe, and at any time we feel the need we can call to him and he will hear us. Every good and perfect gift is from him. And the songwriter (as well as this singer) asks God's help in praising him.

Now to tell the truth I don't always feel like this; I'm not always aware of God's blessings and I'm not always eager to sing praises to him. Which is why a song like this is helpful.

Come to think of it, I sometimes sing hymns when I'm upset or frustrated.... I remember one Sunday afternoon in Kobe (Japan) when I had spent hours (probably only 30 minutes, but it felt like hours) trying to find some building or other (someone's house, maybe). At some point I gave up in vexation and started driving to church. The kids were with me in the car (the lovely Carol had probably gone on ahead by train) and I began singing a hymn. Maybe it was this one, or Oh For a Thousand Tongues; I can't remember (this was maybe 15 years ago). I thought I should explain myself, so I told the kids I was singing because I needed God to change my heart—to make me more patient and gracious etc., and the hymn was something to remind me of some eternal truths, or maybe it was a prayer (like Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to thee).

In any case, I do need help being mindful of God's blessings, in keeping a prayerful attitude, and so on.

And of course I need supernatural help if I'm ever to be transformed into the kind of person God wants me to be—a man of love, joy, peace, patience, courage, generosity, forbearance and so on.

No comments: