Preparing for Worship – Gina Biddle.
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” which we sing today in worship, initially was a poem written by Thomas O. Chisholm in 1923 about God’s faithfulness over his lifetime. The lyrics reference Lamentations 3:22-23.
I witnessed the power and truth of the words in that hymn while involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry (Kairos in Greek means “God’s special time”), which involves prisoners, former prisoners and their families’ advocates for justice. Every month for several years I traveled to the Mountain View Prison, a maximum-security unit for women, in Gatesville, Texas, to work with the inmates. Whenever “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” was sung, the “ladies in white,” as the females were known, appeared to be sorrowful and overcome with emotion as they felt the redemption of Jesus. As I looked in their faces, I could see the great sadness they felt. One said to me she shouldn’t be alive today, but the hymn reminded her that despite her sin and shame, God was faithful to keep her alive although in prison.
We find the same message in another hymn we sing today: “Be Not Afraid For I Have Redeemed You.” Although we all are sinners saved by God-given grace alone, God will redeem us for another day to repent and live.
May each one of us take up our cross — as heavy as it is and no matter how burdensome it may be — to follow the Lord. Let us reflect on our individual lives and how we are all sinners saved by grace freely given. May we look to the heavens and give profound thanks for what our God has done for every one of us. God has forgiven/redeemed each of us. Are we strong enough to accept this?
May we live this God-given life to the fullest until that great day God calls us home to live for eternity.