To Write the Love of God Above!

Once every month or so on a Sunday, we join with a small group of believers for "The Lord's Supper."  We then eat together and have loving fellowship.  Meeting with this precious group makes me think of the early church...humble, varied, gathered around the Lord and His Word to worship, pray, and love one another. I always come away warmly refreshed and with treasures from the Lord.  And today was no exception.  The first "nugget" came in the form of words spoken directly to my heart and life by the Holy Spirit from Colossians, chapter 4.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;...that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

Ocean waves
Ocean waves

But the second gem really grabbed my heart and soul.  It's a verse from an old hymn -- "The Love of God."  The metaphor in the third stanza absorbs my mind and imagination:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,And were the skies of parchment made,Were every stalk on earth a quill,And every man a scribe by trade,To write the love of God above,Would drain the ocean dry.Nor could the scroll contain the whole,Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain:

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure The saints’ and angels’ song.

When I came home, I read the story behind that song -- Oh my!

Frederick M. Lehman wrote the first two stanzas and refrain to this song in 1917 in Pasadena, California.  He was struggling to compose the last verse, when he found words on a card that became the third stanza.  Apparently, the words had been penciled on a wall by a patient in an insane asylum.  They were found after he died when his room was being readied for the next person.  It seems that the patient had known the poem and recorded it on his wall in a moment of clarity.  How much comfort these thoughts on the love of God must have brought him in his time of suffering!

But the plot thickens, because it was later discovered that these words actually date back to a Jewish Rabbi, Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai in 1050.  So, by God's design, this ancient Jewish masterpiece was added to Lehman's celebration of the amazing love of our God.

Sing and worship...and visualize the rich imagery in this gem of hymnody:

The Love of God

stars
stars

The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win; His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure The saints’ and angels’ song.

scroll
scroll

When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call, God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race— The saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Unknown-3
Unknown-3

Could we with ink the ocean fill,And were the skies of parchment made,Were every stalk on earth a quill,And every man a scribe by trade,To write the love of God above,Would drain the ocean dry.Nor could the scroll contain the whole,Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain