Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hymn Words

I was talking earlier with some people from church about hymns for certain seasons. With harvest festival tomorrow, it would be unthinkable not to use We plough the fields and Come ye thankful people, come. However, if you stop to look at the words, especially of the second hymn, it feels a little more uncomfortable. Come ye thankful is actually a hymn about judgment, using the image of a harvest of souls.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offences purge away,
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Most people sing along, thinking of sheaves and barns, but it's referring to the something altogether more scary!

1 comment:

robert said...

Yes, you're correct about Henry Alford's great hymn, "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come." It makes the time of earthly harvest a picture of coming judgment--being based on the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). It speaks of a time when the Lord will separate true believers from those with a mere veneer of religiosity.

Scary? Yes, if we are not spiritually prepared to meet our Maker. But for Christians it should be a motivation to serve the Lord and proclaim the gospel.