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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 2

The second Song of the Righteous I want to analyze immediately follows the first, Hymn 86, How Great Thou Art.

1. O Lord My God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the *worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the *rolling thunder, Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed;

Chorus:
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!

2. When thru the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze

Chorus

3. And when I think that God, his Son not sparing, Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing He bled and died to take away my sin

Chorus

4. When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"

*Authors original words are works and mighty.

The first thing thing that comes to mind when I reflect on the mood of this song is what Truman Madsen said (back in the 1980's) about the prophet Joseph Smith:

"Even in the days that he was in Vermont - Vermont, where even today there is little pollution and where the sky at night is clear and the milkyway is milky - he would look up at night and marvel at the symmetry and the beauty and the order of the heavens.  And something in him said, as has happened to sensitive souls from he beginning, 'something lies behind that. There must be a majestic creator to account for that majestic creation."

It is always a healthy thing for us to think of ourselves as a part of something greater, even staggeringly so, than ourselves.  What a glorious thought!  "I am a part of something so grand, so great, so vast and good and glorious, that I'm going to need a lot of time to understand it all."  What a way to realize there's really no good reason for us to ever be bored.

A while ago when my wife and I were playing Minecraft together, we had been working really hard on some projects on her server when she said something like "This is so awesome and so satisfying to see how much we've accomplished here and this is just a game!  How much greater and more wonderful and joyous and satisfying must it be for Heavenly Father when He creates things in real life that are greater and grander than we can possibly imagine!  How amazing will it be when we are able to participate in that kind of creation!"  She was overcome with joy at the thought.

So should we be!  The best thing, I think, about this hymn is it's focus on what He did so that we have a chance to get to that point.  Sending His Son Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and Perfector so that we can reach that level and become clean and pure as He is, as loving and glorious and mighty and powerful as He!  The infinite sacrifice the Lord made for us should be at least what it was for B. H. Roberts as He studied it, "By deeper delving into the subject, my intellect also gives its full and complete assent to the soundness of the philosophy and the absolute necessity for the atonement of Jesus Christ."  Tad Callister writes of this, "...such intense study of the Atonement proved to be both a mind-expanding and soul-stretching experience.  The intellectual and spiritual blended in wonderful harmony."

I know the world looks dismal at best to the average human mind and heart, but there really are amazing things coming if we are ready when they come.  The last verse of this song reaffirms such. "When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"

I have had experiences that have shown me the magnitude of God's love for us in ways that would have blown my brain straight out of my head (figuratively speaking of course) had I had them 10 years ago.  He has such amazing things in store for all of us if we just pay more attention to the Holy Ghost and making our dealings with others a matter of "persuasion, ...long-suffering, ...gentleness and meekness... love unfeigned; kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile." (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42)

Believe me, I know how hard it can be to maintain a positive attitude amid one heavy blow after another.  That's been the story of my life ever since my marriage to my beautiful, amazing wife, Lorraine.  She has learned to do it way better than me because she wasn't raised in the little Mormon bubble in Western Colorado and what she has been through, even just the small stories, has given people nightmares just listening to them.  Some of those stories will be included in the book she is writing.  But her experience has been invaluable to me and even though I'm a hard shell to crack, I feel like I'm able to do things (and not do things) I never could before and even see more good in all of it because of her example.  There is so much good and higher purpose to see out there, even in the middle of our darkest moments.

This hymn is a good reminder of that for me.  Let's all shout, both literally and in the way we live, "My God How Great Thou Art!"