Jan16SatJanuary 16, 2016
“Oh love that will not let me go,” sounds perhaps like a refrain from a popular rock song or country ballad. Actually it’s the opening line of a hymn of the same name written by George Matheson on the evening of June 6th 1882. Almost completely blind by the age of 17, George nevertheless completed a Master’s degree at the University of Glasgow and became a parish minister. He had been engaged to be married, but as his eyesight failed completely, the love of his life told him she didn’t think she could deal with it anymore and broke off their engagement.
George’s sister stepped in and became a well needed helper. However the time came when she fell in love and got married. The night before her wedding all his family had left for Glasgow leaving George alone in the manse at Innelan. On that night, reflecting on the love he had lost years earlier, and now the departure of his sister and helpful aide, George wrote this hymn. He wrote of the One whose love will never let us go.
And speaking of love, tradition in February has us celebrating St. Valentine’s Day – a day filled with many customs like exchanging greeting cards – a day especially loved by florists and chocolatiers. The celebration has its origins in the commemoration of St. Valentinius, a 3rd century Christian who was martyred at Rome. Over time, the day has become synonymous with love.
This year February also happens to be the month in which Lent begins – a season in which we pay closer attention to the One whose love will never let us go. In fact, He loved us so much He put aside the glories of heaven, was laid in a manager, lived perfectly under the law, and suffered and died on a cruel cross as a condemned criminal – all for us. That’s love – true love – love that will not you go.
On Calvary’s cross His outstretched, nail torn hands reach out to embrace all humanity in His perfect love. Sadly, too many people settle only for other loves – loves not so enduring – not so perfect. As we mark Valentine’s Day and observe the season of Lent let us take time each day to remember with thanks the One whose love will never let us go, “For lo, I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”
“O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
- by George Matheson
1. O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
2. O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.