Pilgrims in this world
by Seattle ALC
As pilgrims in this world where life is fleeting, we journey on to meet our dearest friend. Keep thou oh Lord our hearts from false affections and lead us onward to the journeys end.
It matters not that trials come and sorrows. For soon the pilgrimage will reach its goal. And then will God in more abundant measure give rest and gladness to the weary soul.
The lord is near. He is my source of pleasure. He shares with me my journey everyday. When I am sad he speaks to me of Jesus. Then joy returns. All sadness steals away.
Well may you ask if I can now be truly a child of God The Lords devoted bride? For here you see in me my human frailties. Someday you’ll see my spirit glorified.
Then like the sun, ablaze in noonday splendor with light celestial I shall brightly shine. When at the throne my praise to God I render I truly then shall live the life divine.
Author O.A. Ottander.
This hymn has been my favorite since 1986. That was the year that my grandfather on my fathers side passed away. I was only six years old at the time, but this song was sung many times on the way back to his funeral. It was one of my dads favorite songs and brought great solace to him.
Initially I couldn’t get through the song without being overcome with emotion, but God kept laying it on my heart and it quickly became my favorite. Even today I can sense grief associated with what would be my first experience with the death of a loved one when I sing it. That grief has more to do with the situation where I learned it, rather than the words of the song. There is so much joy and comfort expressed in this beautiful song.
Soon after I was married I was assigned to a job that would be referred to as a “stay away” job. I would be leaving my new bride for a week at a time and working on a small island in the San Juan islands. This kind of situation is difficult enough, but there were other factors that came into play that would make this job the most difficult life experience I had in my young life to that point. I faced derision and persecution from co workers over my faith that was very stressful. Sensing my frustration and fear week after week, my new bride wrote down the third verse of this song on a chalkboard that I would see when I returned home from a long week. She replaced the pronouns “ I,me and my” with the words “our, we and us”. This was a reminder to me that she was in this with me as we had become one flesh in those vows of matrimony. This verse also reminded me of where I needed to turn to find my strength to deal with these trials. God is the one who shares with us our burdens everyday. When we are sad he speaks to us of his Son Jesus. Then joy can return and sadness can steal away.
To this day I will sing that verse with the replaced pronouns, and for the rest of my life I will find both sorrow and joy all wrapped up in this song. Sorrow because of the natural death of my grandfather but also because of death of our Savior. The Word tells us that he was a man of sorrows and aquatinted with grief. These sorrows and grief should rightly be ours, but it also tells us that the angels brought a message of good tidings and great joy when they announced his birth. Because of his atoning work in our behalf, He is our joy and as the songwriter has written , we can render praise to God and live the life divine.
Praise God for his unspeakable mercies to us.
Submitted by Pastor Stan
September 17, 2023
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