STLT#129, Let Love Continue Long

Thank all that is holy for this hymn practice. Because of it, I was finally able to supplant the earworm my colleague Erika Hewitt gave me yesterday. (It was “One Tin Soldier.” No, I am not going to link to it, or sing it in any way. If it becomes your earworm, it wasn’t me.)

But also, thank all that is holy for this hymn practice because I entered it today anxious. I have little problem engaging political debate with others – I majored in it in undergrad for goodness’ sake. But I have no constitution for this kind of argument with family. It crushes my heart, and I get an anxiety attack, which causes me to stumble and be set on the defensive – a position I am already too familiar with as the youngest by 13 years. When my conservative brother and cousin engaged late last night, I shut down, and this morning asked them to not engage me on this for exactly these reasons. I value our relationships more than who will win a political fight, and knowing I enter at a disadvantage, it makes these fights potentially damaging to those familiar bonds.

And then I turn to this hymn by Berkley Moore, which holds a special meaning this morning – almost as if the Divine felt I needed a particularly moving punctuation mark at the end of my comment to them. I know that’s not what this hymn is actually about – but today, in this moment, it is speaking to me on a very personal level.

I’m not sure I can say much that will help anyone else – except to say that no matter our intent in worship, no matter what the intent of a writer or composer, the elements (songs, readings, sermons, rituals, visuals, etc.) will meet people where they are, not where we necessarily expect them to be. Today, this one is meeting me in my anxiety.

Let love continue long,
and show to us the way,
and if that love be strong,
no hurt can have a say;
and if that love remain but strong,
no hurt can ever have a say.

If love cannot be found,
though common faith prevails,
when love does not abound,
a common faith will fail.
When human love does not abound,
a common faith will always fail.

If we in love unite,
debate can cause no strife:
for with this love in sight,
disputes enrich our life.
For with this bond of human love,
disputes can mean a richer life.

May love continue long,
and lead us on our way:
for if that love be strong,
no hurt can have a say.
For if that love remain but strong,
no hurt can ever have a say.

So may it be.

Today’s pic is not exactly the scene outside my window at the moment – we just shifted from heavy snow to sleet – but it’s reminiscent….

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