Monday, June 14, 2010

A Thousand Tongues


I can't get the following hymn by Charles Wesley out of my thoughts. Efforts are focused on the final days for my father, Jack Blair, who is dealing with a brain tumour and general system shut-down at age 88. He has the best of medical care at University Hospital in London, but he is no longer conscious and struggles at breathing. He will soon see Jesus. I had a most comforting phone conversation today with the newly arrived pastor at my parents' former home church (Robinson Memorial United). Keith has graciously agreed to participate in the funeral service. His words in our chat on the Christian hope were a real help to me.

Yesterday I sat alone with Dad for a couple of hours by his bed. He did not engage or acknowledge me. A couple of times abnormal noise in the room caused him to open his eyes toward the ceiling, but then back to laboured sleep under heavy medication. I spoke to him, thanked him, held him and suggested that Jesus was close. People have told me that the sub-conscious often registers such conversation, and that it matters. In my estimation it was valuable to be with him while he yet breathed here.

At one point I read aloud a portion of John chapter 11 about the raising of Lazarus, Jesus' friend, from the grave. Jesus wept. "Lazarus, come forth." "Loose him, and let him go."

O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

1. O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2. My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

3. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.

4. He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

5. He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

6. Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your savior come,
and leap, ye lame, for joy.

7. In Christ, your head, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below,
and own that love is heaven.

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