Today’s post is by The Chorister. This is one of my favorite hymns. We hardly ever sing it in Sacrament meeting, which is a real shame. I’ve been listening to it all week and it just makes me feel good. Is that “the Spirit”? I don’t know. I just know that it makes me feel calm and peaceful and that’s enough for me right now.Here are the words (written by Theodore E. Curtis, 1872-1957):
and the music (written by Hugh W. Dougall, 1872-1963):
http://www.lds.org/churchmusic/detailmu … seqend=ZZZ
The scriptures cited in the hymnbook are Psalm 55:16–17, 22 and Matthew 11:28–30—both of which are beautiful scriptures that talk about coming unto Christ.
The third verse mentions three kinds of people who could benefit from coming unto Christ—the depressed, the erring, and the weary. I feel weary lots of times in terms of my relationship with the church. I have allowed those feelings to impact my feelings about both God and Christ, which I regret and would like to change. In thinking about this hymn, I came across a speech that Elder Holland gave at BYU about coming unto Christ (http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=2912). There are some things in it that I don’t like or am not sure about – the belief that Christ is the “only way” to achieve happiness/eternal life/whatever. I know that this is a basic premise of Mormonism and of Christianity in general and as I’m typing this, I realize that I may be farther “out” than I am willing to admit. However, there is much about this central message of Christianity that I like.
Elder Holland said: “On the example of the Savior himself and his call to his apostles, and with the need for peace and comfort ringing in our ears, I ask you to be a healer, be a helper, be someone who joins in the work of Christ in lifting burdens, in making the load lighter, in making things better. Isn’t that the phrase we used to use as children when we had a bump or a bruise? Didn’t we say to Mom or Dad, “Make it better.” Well, lots of people on your right hand and on your left are carrying bumps and bruises that they hope will be healed and made whole. Someone sitting within reasonable proximity to you tonight is carrying a spiritual or physical or emotional burden of some sort or some other affliction drawn from life’s catalog of a thousand kinds of sorrow. In the spirit of Christ’s first invitation to Philip and Andrew and then to Peter and the whole of his twelve apostles, jump into this work. Help people. Heal old wounds and try to make things better.”
Holland concludes by saying that Christ “wishes us to come unto him, to follow him, to be comforted by him. Then he wishes us to give comfort to others.” That’s the central premise of this hymn, I think. Or at least that’s the take-away message for me. We’re supposed to do for others what Christ says he will do for us—help us, comfort us, pay attention to us, listen to us, serve us. Regardless of my questions/confusions/doubts about “the church” and “the gospel,” this is clearly something I can do, both for myself and for others.
I say a hymn is a perfectly good placeholder right now. I’m glad that, even in a famine of spiritual light (if I’m understanding you correctly), you can feast upon the words of Christ in the form of a hymn. You might even find your answers there…
This really is a beautiful hymn. There are so many hymns that share that basic message, and all of them are powerful to me, as well.
Just one thing:
You said you have a problem with “the belief that Christ is the “only way” to achieve happiness/eternal life/whatever.” If it helps at all, I always have interpreted that to mean that the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ is the only way – which I take to mean the principles He taught. I believe that is why we can say that those of other religions who live according to those principles can be saved and exalted just as Christians in this life can be – that they lived according to the principles of the Gospel and the light of Christ they brought with them to this earth, even though they “knew not Christ in this life”.
Thanks for bringing up that point Ray. 3 Nephi 28:34-35 has perplexed me in a similar way, going so far as to say that “it would be better for them that they had not been born.” If you hone in on verse 34 however, it is about those who will not hearken to the “WORDS of Jesus” or those who “receiveth not the WORDS of Jesus”.
The words of Jesus can be delivered in many ways, thus the manner in which they are received will vary according to the way they are delivered. During my missionary experience, it was natural to look at my calling as one “sent among them” to deliver the “words of Jesus”, but some of the wonderful non-
Christian investigators who studied with us had lived a host of principles that shared features of the gospel of Jesus Christ from their youth.
“Elder Holland said: “On the example of the Savior himself and his call to his apostles, and with the need for peace and comfort ringing in our ears, I ask you to be a healer, be a helper, be someone who joins in the work of Christ in lifting burdens, in making the load lighter, in making things better. ”
Really enjoyed your insights – My hope is we focus more on this stuff.
“I realize that I may be farther “out” than I am willing to admit.”
IMO I think their is going to be a considerable number of people who share your same views.