Many of us have said our tearful "good-byes" to loved ones in the past year. Many of us will say those same "good-byes" to others this coming year. In fact, there are those among us who may say our own "good-bye" to this broken, yet beloved, world. Where is the comfort?
Perhaps the comfort can come in the final lines of each stanza of an old, forgotten hymn:
Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land!
I rediscovered this tender hymn at the memorial service of a dear brother, who went home to Jesus recently. The Sands of Time are Sinking is a song that I always knew as Immanuel's Land. My own title comes from that last line of each stanza. These hauntingly profound words were the dying words of a "great" in the faith, Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661). Inspired by his story, the hymn writer, 200 years later, penned the words of this magnificent piece leaving us with a treasure, not only to sing, but to deeply ponder...and worship.
There is tremendous comfort in the truth that those who fall asleep in Jesus are enraptured, as we speak, with the glory of being in their Immanuel's presence! As someone has once said, if you were able to ask them if they wanted to return, the answer would be an overwhelming, "NO!"
But even though Immanuel's Land speaks mainly about seeing our Savior face-to-face in heaven, I have discovered the truth of Paul's penetrating and amazing words of delight (which are alluded to in the second stanza)...enjoyment of our glorious Immanuel Jesus is ours to "taste" in the "right here, right now"!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imaginedwhat God has prepared for those who love him.”
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NLT
In that vein, take special note of the last 3 stanzas, and join me in declaring "Glory! Glory!"
The sands of time are sinking, The dawn of heaven breaks; The summer morn I've sighed for - The fair, sweet morn awakes: Dark, dark had been the midnight But dayspring is at hand, And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.
O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep, sweet well of love! The streams on earth I've tasted More deep Ill drink above: There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand, And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.
O I am my Beloved's And my Beloved is mine! He brings a poor vile sinner Into His house of wine I stand upon His merit - I know no other stand, Not e'en where glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.
The bride eyes not her garment, But her dear Bridegroom's face; I will not gaze at glory But on my King of grace. Not at the crown He giveth But on His pierced hand; The Lamb is all the glory Of Immanuel's land.
THE SANDS OF TIME ARE SINKING TEXT: Anne Ross Cundell Cousin MUSIC: Phillip Palmertree