Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Last Page - Part 2

After looking over my journal that has now come to a close, I saw a theme emerge that I would hope will be theme of my life: I want Christ. I want to stand in the affirmative of Paul’s triumphant thesis: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20 ESV). I recognize that it is my own sinfulness that prevents me from coming to full actualization of this truth, but it is my longing nonetheless. As Bach has said that Jesus is the “joy of man’s desiring,” Bernard of Clairvaux has said that He is the “joy of loving hearts.” Lord, may You be my Joy as well and that I may “find Thee all in all.”

“Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts” written by Bernard of Clairvaux (c. 1150)

“Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-Head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world Thy Holy Light.”

Bernard of Clairvaux was a 12th century monk who dedicated himself to seeing and savoring Jesus Christ. As predecessor to the reformers, he was indeed Catholic by label, but reformed by definition. His understanding of the doctrines of grace, the sufficiency of the Word of God, and his desire to personally and intimately know the Savior who rescued him from the kingdom of darkness and transferred him into a kingdom of light runs parallel to the great reformers who followed four hundred years in his stead. Bernard’s “Last Page” was read about three years after he wrote this worshipful, Christ-centered hymn.

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