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Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I’m creating a new tradition: Tuesday Tunes! I have dozens of favorite hymns, both ancient and modern. These songs speak to me when nothing else feels real. I hope you enjoy the memories or even find new songs to love.

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Chisolm and William Runyan has been sung in our churches for just under a hundred years, but it feels so much older. The lyrics are adapted from Lamentations 3. They connect us across the centuries to the ancient Israelites, devastated after the gory fall of Jerusalem.

No one has laid siege to my small town lately, and the button on my jeans says I have never known real famine, but all of us have moments of despair. For me, this has come through infertility, chronic illness of my own and loved ones, severe depression, etc. For most of us, 2020 has felt that way, with this worldwide pandemic, lockdowns, reckoning with police brutality as well as personal and societal racism, and ever increasing political extremism. (I speak as an American Christian, but my limited research seems to indicate that these experiences are much more widespread than just our nation.) 2021 has not proven itself magically better thus far. The world seems broken beyond repair. It feels like lost innocence. Like the end of life as we know it. Where do we go from here?

Lamentations overflows with grief. The holy city is destroyed. The chosen people are brutalized, captured or murdered. For so many, it was the end of everything. And, in the midst of this sobbing and screaming with grief, Jeremiah affirms:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

Therefore I will wait for him.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

And tonight, in pain and confusion and fear and grief, I sing this song alone, yet with the saints of countless generations. The moon and the stars in their constant course remind me of his faithfulness, and I wait for him.

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