Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fairest Lord Jesus

Okay so I'm only partially hiatusing at this point. After tomorrow morning however, that'll switch over to full on hiatus & you wont hear from me for a while.

Last night I was thumbing through one of our hymnals looking for a new song for tonight. We're sort of skipping around right now and singing a different song (or songs) every night. Songs that we've learned before, but maybe haven't sung in a while. One that I came across (and picked for tonight) was Fairest Lord Jesus. Here are the words:

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

There are two other verses to this hymn but we've never learned them and never sing them. I'm not sure why, I guess that just falls into the category of tradition and what we're comfortable with.

you can almost hear the sounds of a running brook... can't you?The aspect of this hymn that really stood out to me the first time I'd ever heard it, was the comparison between Jesus and the beauty and awesomeness of nature - God's creation. Because I love being outdoors and being in His creation (far more than being in the concrete jungle), this really impacted me.

Have you ever been in the woods in the spring when the sun's rays are filtering through the branches right down to the forest floor? If not, I assure you it's a most stunning sight. It's storybook beautiful.

Have you ever stood in awe as you gazed into the sky on a dark summer night? It often seems the longer you look, the more stars appear and the more amazingly it really is to observe that canopy of twinkling light covering our night sky.

I have to wonder if the significance of this comparison (Jesus to nature) is lost on our generation? According to, the words to this hymn were written by German Jesuits in the 17th century and translated to English in 1873 by Lutheran pastor Joseph August Seiss, who lived in Philadelphia. The German countryside in the 17th century however was a time and a place so incredibly different than the one we live in now. The German landscape would have looked almost nothing like what it does today. More people in that day, would have understood this comparison than would today. We live in a time when it seems more people than ever live in crowded cities and have never taken the time (or have never enjoyed) to be away from those cities and spend quality time in God's creation. If that describes you, I can't encourage you enough to get out of town and spend some relaxing time being in His beautiful world - and not the man-made world.

The significance however of the comparison of Jesus to nature, is pretty astounding. As beautiful and breathtaking, awesome and amazing, stunning and striking as nature really is, Jesus outshines it all. He is fairer, He is purer, He is far more worthy of our attention than anything nature can offer in terms of lovliness to gaze upon.

It's a wonderful hymn to sing, and a precious reminder of just how awesome He really is. I'm glad my skimming stopped on this one last night, it's been too long since we've sung this as a family. Maybe you'd like to print the words and sing this with your family tonight, as well?