Wednesday, March 12, 2008

come, and let us sweetly join

Each day of Lent I am publishing one of Charles Wesley's hymns or poems. In my experience, the selection of Charles Wesley's hymns that we actually use in worship is very small. This is sad, because his hymns are filled with deep theological truths and great beauty.

Use these as a part of your Lenten disciplines, and share any thoughts or reactions in the comments.

Lent Day 31

Come, and Let Us Sweetly Join
(United Methodist Hymnal #699)

Come, and let us sweetly join,
Christ to praise in hymns divine;
give we all with one accord
glory to our common Lord.

Hands and hearts and voices raise,
sing as in the ancient days;
antedate the joys above,
celebrate the feast of love.

Jesus, dear expected Guest,
thou art bidden to the feast;
for thyself our hearts prepare;
come, and sit, and banquet there.

Sanctify us, Lord, and bless,
breathe thy Spirit, give thy peace;
thou thyself within us move,
make our feast a feast of love.


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Am I mistaken or is there a reference to a supralapsarian position on the incarnation in this hymn?

Rich Holton said...

Wow, Geoffrey. Supralapsarian, as in the idea that God decreed the elect and the reprobate even before the fall? I'm not sure how that term even fits into a position on the incarnation. You're going have to unpack your question a bit before I even can begin to offer an opnion.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Verse 2:
Hands and hearts and voices raise,
sing as in the ancient days;
antedate the joys above,
celebrate the feast of love.

Supralapsarianism includes not just the preordination of the elect and reprobate, but that the entirety of the Heilsgeschichte already existed in God's reality before the creation - including the eventuality of the Fall, Original Sin, and the necessity for the Incarnation. It is that word "antedates" in the verse that made my eyebrows pop up. I guess I had never thought of the Wesleys in such a way. Or perhaps I am misconstruing the meaning of the word in the context of the hymn.

Rich Holton said...

I figured it must have been verse 2 that brought your response. Because it's not a word that I use in normal conversation, I looked up antedate at One of the definitions is predate, which might support your idea. But there are other meanings, including the archaic usage anticipate, which seems to fit with the context.

Of course, we can't know what Charles was thinking. But it is fun to speculate!