Preparing for Worship – Jeff Hampton.
In worship this morning the Wilshire Winds play an arrangement of “Abide With Me” that offers an unusual twist on the familiar tune. At the beginning and throughout, listen and you’ll hear the trumpet notes of “Last Call,” which is the British equivalent of what we know in the United States as “Taps.” Just like “Taps,” “Last Call” is often played at sunset at military bases and especially at funerals that include military honors. For that reason, “Last Call” pairs well with “Abide With Me” and its words alluding to the end of the day and the end of life: “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide …”
It’s mostly happenstance that this arrangement of “Abide With Me” is played in the service today. There’s nothing in the liturgical calendar that specifically calls for it. In fact, with its trumpet calls, it might fit better on a Memorial Day weekend, when we are intentionally remembering those who have sacrificed for others. However, if “Abide With Me” or “Last Call” brings to mind the end of life, perhaps it is the perfect companion this morning to the hymn “Jesus Loves Me.”
For many a child, “Jesus Loves Me” marks the very beginning of their knowledge of God and Jesus and what it means to have a holy presence that “abides” in their life. In my own memory, it is the first “church song” I learned. With the words, “Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong,” it clearly marks the beginning — the “morning” — of a lifelong walk with Christ that will endure to the “eventide” of life and into eternity.
It’s a walk that is depicted in both of our readings today. In Deuteronomy we hear about the life that can be had by “walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances.” And in Psalms, we read, “Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.” Both readings describe a place of discernment somewhere on the continuum between the childlike trust of “Jesus Loves Me” and the mature peace of “Abide With Me.”
As we worship today in music and Scripture, consider your own walk with the Lord: where you started, where you’ve been, and where you are on that walk today.