If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Yesterday evening, I was sat at the piano tinkling with some chords. I turned to the hymn book to search for words suitable for the new melody that might emerge. Under the section entitled “The Christian Life and Eternity” I came across the well known Welsh hymn by William Williams Pantycelyn, ‘Boed fy nghalon i ti’n demel’ (‘May my heart be a temple to thee’)
Having decided on a set of chords and a melody I began to reflect upon the words, digging deeper into their meaning as I sang. Despite having sung the words many times before and being blessed by them, last night I experienced the beauty of the wonderful truth in this hymn once more.
I wonder if you, like me, find that you long for a return to Sundays spent in the church building and that the longing causes a deep Welsh “hiraeth” in your heart? I long to meet with my church family sitting with my brothers and sisters under the Word of God. I long for that fellowship that comes from hearing how the Word has warmed hearts and comforted souls, for the “lets sing together” and the “let us pray”. I long to hear and see the children running riot around us while we share a cuppa after the service!
But, as I sang these words, a wonderful truth seeped deep into my soul. The church doors may be shut, but the “curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mathew 27:51). “A new and living way was opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Hebrews 10:20-22). Reading Romans 8:11 made me realise anew that there are no lockdown measures stopping me from coming into the presence of God!
The Lord our God has made His home in our hearts! And if he has made his home in our hearts he gives us new life. Before God saved us, we were spiritually dead, unclean and far from Him. But now we have a new life, chosen by God to be his children! Because of this wonderful truth, let us sing Pantycelyn’s words with joy in our hearts:
And within this dwelling-place
Stay, Jesus, stay forever:
A perpetual feast
Thy presence will be to me.
Yes, many pre-covid pleasures have been denied us recently and we could easily linger upon them with longing, losing ourselves in the “hiraeth” that I have been struggling with. Of course we hunger for worshipping with our church family, but let us not allow our longing to dampen our joy. Nothing can ever again remove us from God’s presence. Let us rejoice because this ‘Is a thousand times better/Than the empty pleasures of the world”
Is “hiraeth” troubling you today? Why not turn to this hymn and be reminded that there is a place where our souls can be delighted.
Elin Bryn, Capel y Ffynnon
(Hymn translation by Richard B Gillion)