Great is thy faithfulness. I am not sure there is a better theme or anthem to sing.
I have been listening to this song a bit lately, as I am writing choral backup parts for it to be sung at an upcoming concert. The applicability of the text is perennial as the song itself describes: “Summer and winter and springtime and harvest…” This past year in my life has shown me again God’s faithfulness in all seasons. We sold a house, recorded an album, moved a few states away from home, found new jobs and a new church, and Jason started seminary classes, to name a few of the year’s happenings. Pretty much all of those events involved a little anxiety, waiting, praying, false hopes, and seeing again that God is faithful to provide for our needs.
Now nearly spring, this is the time of year in the northern hemisphere we remember that despite coldness and darkness, life will bloom. The earth will warm up, seeds again will sprout.
The sprouts will become a harvest. All that we need God’s hand has provided.
There is a new list each day of what needs to be done, what decisions need to be made. The coming year has a new list of uncertainties. But God doesn’t tire of making the sun rise, or the flowers bloom, as Chesterton points out. God “is strong enough” for this, for faithfulness, for giving life every day. He is strong enough to remain the same and not grow weary. He is strong enough to give us strength.
I was joined on the recording by David McKeen playing harmonica and Dan Lawonn playing cello, and my longtime friend Maria Schmidt singing harmony. The nostalgic harmonica and starry-eyed cello combo might strike some as odd, but perhaps they illustrate the intersection of the human and the divine, the unlikely reality of earth and heaven joined together in God’s relationship with us, each of us a mere grain of sand in the hourglass. Great is His faithfulness to me. To you.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever, forever wilt be
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, mercy and love
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand, ten thousand beside
Text by Thomas Chisholm, Copyright 1923