When I read all the words of the second hymn, I considered the small party of people from the local old people’s home who had, unexpectedly, joined the congregation this morning and wondered if it was a bit lacking in tact or might be rather a comfort (the third verse isn’t in our hymnbook). It was recommended with the reading this morning and the tune (Sibelius’s Finlandia) is lovely.
Mind you, I quite appreciate the idea of Christianity offering solace and encouraging fortitude rather than constant joy and happy-clappiness. I think that’s quite unrealistic and likely to put some people off completely. I said once here that one of the hymns I’d like for my funeral is this one which, similarly, asks for support through the difficulties of life rather than expecting them to be swept away – which ain’t going to happen and nor does the Bible suggest that they can or should be.
Mind you, I have some problems with those who think that everything can be put right through faith and prayer – it depends, for one thing, on your definition of ‘put right’ –
The mouse that prayed for Allah’s aid
Blasphemed when no such aid befell.
The cat that feasted on that mouse
Thought Allah managed vastly well.
– as Saki put it (forgive me if I’ve made any mistakes; I haven’t looked it up to check).