feathered{refuge}

He will cover you with His feathers

and under His wings you will find refuge:

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.   Psalm 91:4

I began February in a very strange place, wonderful things were happening whilst being in this poverty that is likely now to last forever. I have to embrace this change and make adjustments accordingly. There is a wage coming in the house and so I am thankful for that. Then just as the month came into full swing I became aware of something not wonderful. I sit with both, the wonderful and not wonderful and contemplate them, pray about them and seek guidance.

The lyrics to a beautiful old hymn came to me (printed at the bottom) and gave great comfort. We don’t sing the hymns I remember from school assemblies (they are gone now I suppose) and from the time when I went to church and from singing them at the piano in Blue’s house.

The guy that wrote it, William Orcutt Cushing (what a great name!) was an American minister in the 1800’s and prolific hymn writer. He has been described as noble, sweet and Spirit filled. Sweet is an odd word for a man but even in the writing of this I can think of two or three men who yes, I think of as sweet. 

He is further described as being poor in purse but rich in spirit and homeless but never friendless. Isn’t that brilliant. From reading about the back story of the Wesleys I can see there parsimonious frugality as a reaction to having a father forver in debt. But because of their example others followed on this path of not searching for riches in the pursuit of God.

To take an example from William Cushing, he wrote a hymn called the Jewel Song. On a trip over the Atlantic Ocean on a steamship it was sung at a service and delighted the congregation that it was sung constantly over the voyage. Those immigrants then sang it in the places they settled and the hymn became widely known. How different to today, where hymns are churned out, sometimes only rewriting an older hymn or adding a chorus to an old standard and then it is played to mass appeal. Instead of hooking into catchy tunes that are easy for congregations to sing we should be testing them, be the salt.

What is around you? I like the lyrics of this hymn that speaks of being tucked under the wing of the Lord whilst evil remains apart. A fledgling bird nestles under the wing of their parent for protection from weather, from attack and because:

It is secure and safe place to be

Isn’t it great that we are in that place when we turn our eyes to the Lord, leaving the past behind and the future in his care. We live in the moment with no blame or judgement, each day belongs to the Lord and we delight in his presence. We jump for joy in praise and we have quiet moments with the Lord in communication, in communion with him.

 It is a place to remain in 

Amazingly the same person affirmed both the wonderful and not wonderful, I was not returning to madness, it was reall, both of them, so now I sit again with that affirmation and contemplate, pray and ask for guidance

Black_river

 

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Refrain

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Refrain

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Refrain

 

Other hymns by William Cushing that I am fond of are “He cometh” and the brilliant “We are watching”

 

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