Sunday, June 27, 2004

Arise (arise), arise (arise), arise, Arise, my soul, arise...

Whenever we sing Arise, My Soul, Arise, as we did this morning during the worship service, I am reminded of these verses from Isaiah:

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you;
the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,
and I will beautify my beautiful house.
Who are these that fly like a cloud,
and like doves to their windows?
For the coastlands shall hope for me,
the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your children from afar,
their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the LORD your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel,
because he has made you beautiful.

Isaiah 60: 1-9

Funny word, "arise." Just look at it. Arise. Arise, arise, arise. Someone pointed out this observation today at lunch-- if you repeat a word long enough, it begins to lose it's meaning. I think, though, that when I dwell on this song in the context of WHY we are told to "Arise, shine," and the power of God that draws the nations from afar, I am overcome by such gratitude and praise-- somehow, I understand why those who updated Wesley's hymn decided to emphasize the word in the chorus. After we take Communion together, sometimes we sing "Arise, My Soul, Arise," and I just want to shout with joy: "This is the Gospel! This is why we are the Church! This is why we celebrate the Lord's Supper-- we are all ransomed sinners who have been made beautiful by God. Throw off everything that hinders! Run the race with perseverance! Glorify your Lord!"

Thankfully, so far, I've managed restrain myself. I mean, what would the neighbors think?

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