Preparing for Worship

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Preparing For Worship

Preparing for Worship – LeAnn Hampton.

Seen. Known. Loved. The theme for our journey through Lent has been beautifully represented through our times of worship each Sunday. Today the concept of seeing and being seen is woven through the Scripture reading in John 9, and in the background of our hymn, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.

In the Scripture, we find Jesus walking around bringing the good news of God’s healing, love and grace to everyone. When he sees the man born blind and heals him, we are suddenly given a front row seat to intriguing conversations as Jesus helps those near him understand who can see and who can’t or won’t use the God-given gift of sight.

The hymn, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, is not only a moving reminder of how much we are known and loved but has an interesting connection to blindness and vision. George Matheson, who wrote the text of the hymn, was a brilliant pastor and writer who throughout his life suffered from failing vision. He was nearly blind by age 18 but excelled as a student at Glasgow University studying theology. His sister helped him with his studies, and after he became a pastor, she provided invaluable assistance with his pastoral responsibilities.

On the eve of his sister’s wedding, June 6, 1882, Matheson composed the text of the hymn, and described the experience in this way. “Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression rather of having it dictated to me by some inward voice than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high. I have never been able to gain once more the same fervor in verse.” Although Reverend Matheson’s eyes failed to see, he understood being seen, known and loved by God.

As we worship together, may God open our eyes and allow us to respond to the great love made known to us through Jesus Christ.