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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 3

Next in line at number 3 in my Songs of the Righteous is Hymn 113, Our Savior's Love

Our Savior's love shines like the sun with perfect light,
As from above it breaks thru clouds of strife.
Lighting our way, it leads us back into his sight,
Where we may stay to share eternal life.

The Spirit, voice of goodness, whispers to our hearts
A better choice than evil's anguished cries.
Loud may the sound of hope ring till all doubt departs,
And we are bound to him by loving ties.

Our Father, God of all creation, hear us pray
In rev'rence, awed by thy Son's sacrifice.
Praises we sing. We love thy law; we will obey.
Our heav'nly King, in thee our hearts rejoice.

Just yesterday, my wife and I watched Finding Dory on Netflix.  It's a great movie by the way.  As noted in an article quite a while ago, I find it very easy to notice gospel parallels in movies.  In that one, it shows when Dory was young how her parents helped her find her way back home when she was little if she got lost by always having a long path of seashells that she could follow back to their home.  God does a similar thing.  He leaves a path of little spiritual reminder "seashells" to help guide us back to him.

I wanted to point that out to parallel something in this hymn.  Contrast is often an effective teacher.  This becomes more apparent the more often and more deep our experiences are in this life.  Sometimes it's within our darkest moments that the light of Jesus Christ pierces the darkness, often in even the smallest ways and even when that is the case, it still feels like enough to pull us through and "break thru [our] clouds of strife".  I am confident that that is because the love and light of the Lord is so intense and powerful and beautiful that it doesn't take much of it to last us a while.  For me, even the mere memory of my deepest experiences like that lifts me again and often helps me feel like he's leaving much larger and more beautiful "seashells" along my path, bursting with his "perfect light."

Interestingly enough, the fact that Dory ends up having her memory improve little by little throughout the movie (don't worry, that doesn't spoil anything) ties in very well with the second verse.  Even though the veil has been drawn over our mortal minds, our spirits still have a perfect memory of everything about life with our Heavenly Father before we were born.  Dory's flashes of memories from her childhood remind me of the little flashes from the Holy Ghost we get sometimes of "Oh yea, this feels familiar!" which also kind of goes along with the second verse of "Oh My Father", hymn 292, which I may write about in a later part in this series,

"For a wise and glorious purpose thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered from a more exalted sphere."

Memories of that love reignite in us a sense that, really, we belong with our Father in Heaven when all is said and done. So it's not an exaggeration or a merely symbolic statement when it says "we are bound to him by loving ties."  Love literally makes the world go 'round.  The elements of the universe operate solely by and in response to the love of God.  His love for all of His creation is why the earth, the solar system, wind, water, magnetism and radiation, the human body and brain all work the way they do.  It is an eternal agreement of love, faith and respect.  It's those ties of love that keep us bound to Him if we elect to keep them strong on our end.

Whether we remain or regain our state of belonging to Him is totally up to us.  Of course, the reason it's even possible to grow to be like Him and His Son, our Redeemer, and remain His is brought to our attention in the last verse of hymn ,

"Our Father, God of all creation, hear us pray in rev'rence, awed by thy Son's sacrifice."

The highest form of love is sacrifice and I've spent a significant portion of my life working to increase my understanding of and faith in that principle.  Some things I've sacrificed I've seen as more of an investment than "giving up" something I love for something else, because of the love I have for what I'm investing in, whether it's a person or something else.  But I'm still trying to get to the point where the following statement is a more accurate reflection of my mind and heart: "If you have nothing but God, you have more than if you had everything but God."

Clearly, Christ saw us as an investment for which giving His all - every last bit of His vast, Godly sized reservoir of love - was completely worth it.  He wants us all back that much.  And what a better way to respond to such love than that way the last verse of this hymn concludes, "Our heav'nly King, in thee our hearts rejoice."