Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.
The summer of 1985 I completed my year-long internship at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. I had applied for and been accepted to attend an Ecumenical Seminar at Chateau de Bossy outside of Geneva. We toured Reformation sites including the church where John Calvin preached. No stained glass windows! Very little décor and in short, a rather austere worship space. The pulpit was raised, and I am certainly glad we have padded pews compared to the wooden seats of those there, where Calvin’s sermons must have gone on and on!
As one who had never ventured very far from home, I was thrilled to be in the company of Christians from around the world and it was a new experience to interact with seminarians from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. While I had met with international students at Columbia Seminary, this time I was the foreigner on foreign soil! There were spirited discussions about church, government, and society via translations. Though there were disagreements, there were some enlightening moments when our unity in Christ was greater than our diversity.
We see how Isaiah 9 is a scriptural allusion to Here in This Place. Pay attention to verses 1 and 2 of that hymn. Read/sing:
Here in this place the new light is streaming;
now is the darkness vanished away;
see in this place our fears and our dreamings
Brought here to you in the light of this day …
We are the young our lives are a mystery,
We are the old who yearn for your face.
We have been sung throughout all of history,
Called to be light to the whole human race.”
Lord of our worship and Lord of our lives, we thank You for the opportunity to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ from around the globe Though we are diverse with cultural differences, we enjoy unity in Christ. He sends us out to be light to others that they too may be gathered in. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.