12 Jan Abide with me
Thought for the Day: Grace not guilt!
Born in 1793 as the second son of a man “more interested in fishing and shooting than in facing up to his family responsibilities”, Henry Francis Lite wanted to learn from his father’s mistakes. Throughout his teens and early twenties, Lite believed that this meant strictly living a rigid Christian life. He even went on to become an Anglican priest. Then in 1820, he went through an experience that changed him. He was able to abandon legalism and guilt for a life of faith that was based on God’s grace.
While visiting a dying family friend (William Augustus Le Hunte), Lite was deeply moved by Le Hunte’s final testimony. Le Hunte, a priest himself, had always been legalistic. Now, in his final moments, he expressed regret at having not taken the Biblical understanding of grace to heart. His final words were, “abide with me”. This was a reference to Jesus’ speaking to his disciples on their walk to Emmaus (Luke 24). These words in turn stuck with Lite. After his friend’s passing, Lite returned home to write a poem we now know as the hymn “Abide with Me”. From that moment on, Lite knew he was saved by God’s grace through faith, and he couldn’t earn his salvation by legalistically following rules.
We don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone. Still, like Lite and Le Hunte, how often have we found ourselves caught up in feelings of guilt? At times we may have even felt our actions today could somehow compensate (in God’s eyes) for something we did wrong in the past. Of course, this isn’t the case. Instead, as Christians, we are not to worry,but to accept that God’s peace is beyond our understanding. Just as Lite and Le Hunte learned, Jesus wants to abide with us every day. All we need to do is trust that He will never let us go!
Pastors Stan and David