Friday, November 16, 2007

 

Coming Home

Michael Yon posts an absolutely must-read, must-see pictorial with commentary on the reopening of a Christian church in Baghdad. This is the same church newly adorned as depicted in that remarkable image, shown and discussed here.

Yon captures the inaugural ceremony, and quotes briefly from an old Christian hymn:

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;

(Will L. Thompson, “Softly and Tenderly”)

I know this hymn well, I learned it at Life’s Hope Baptist Church in Atlanta GA, during that blessed year my family lived among those who would become our dear friends. It was a year of great change, of awakening, of renewal and growth. New beginnings, new hope, Life’s Hope.

As Yon reports:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any fighting. I can’t remember my last shootout: it’s been months. The nightmare is ending. Al Qaeda is being crushed. The Sunni tribes are awakening all across Iraq and foreswearing violence for negotiation. Many of the Shia are ready to stop the fighting that undermines their ability to forge and manage a new government. This is a complex and still delicate denouement, and the war may not be over yet. But the Muslims are saying it’s time to come home. And the Christians are saying it’s time to come home. They are weary, and there is much work to be done.

Sometimes there is nothing so moving as the old sacred hymns. Here it is in its entirety, courtesy of the Cyberhymnal. (Note the history and remarkable provenance of the hymn there as well.)

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Refrain:

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

(Refrain)

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

(Refrain)

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

(Refrain)

With tears, not of bitterness, but of joy and relief, so we will be welcomed home. So too, perhaps, for the Iraqi Diaspora.

(Via Instapundit)

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