It was with particular fervor that I sang the last verse of "O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright" this morning:
What joy to know, when life is past,
The Lord we love is first and last,
The end and the beginning!
He will one day, oh, glorious grace,
Transport us to that happy place
Beyond all tears and sinning!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Crown of gladness!
We are yearning
For the day of Your returning!
I have always loved this hymn. And going to church with my children endows this last verse with new, practical meaning. It's one thing to pray in a general sense for our Lord's return. It's quite another to spend the Words of Institution gritting my teeth and hauling my dear sons out from under the pew--the first occupied pew, I might add, as a series of minor pre-church crises prevented us from arriving in time to claim our usually more discreet location. "Come, Lord Jesus," quickly come! No, I really mean it this time! Transport us to that happy place! Now! Practical piety, indeed.
It sometimes seems rough when the "tears and sinning" so immediately precede reception of the Sacrament--but then again, as has been observed on this blog before, what better time to receive this most precious gift with deep humility and earnest gratefulness?
And the boys really were pretty good for the rest of the service today. Um, except for the prayers. We are yearning for the day of Your returning!
The 3 yr. old did redeem himself at home by recounting parts of the service, volunteering to tell us about Sunday School, and actually getting most of the stuff right, down to details of "gold, frankensense, and murr," and of course the camels. And then he told us he would put on a "drum show" for us (kitchen utensils; you don't think we'd actually get him drums, do you?) if we would sing verses 1, 2, and 5 of "Joy to the World." So I guess the Word of God extends even as far as under the pews. (I know, "Joy to the World" has only 4 verses. But we'll take what we can get.)
A Joyous Epiphany to all!
P.S. We do hope the King cake celebration came off well for R. and co?