There’s another Country

And so we are there. Today the UK will vote to decide our future.  The choice will be whether or not to leave the European Union.

So much of the debate has been about things like national identity, economic prosperity, security and safety etc.  At the same time, I’m keenly aware that many of the people who live and work in our local community and indeed who are part of the Bearwood Chapel family are residents but not citizens in the UK and so will not have a vote, even though they will be affected one way or another by the outcome.

Tomorrow looks uncertain and so I thought it might be helpful to remind each other tonight of where our hope and security lies.  I’m not going to make a lot of comment, just leave you with the word of two hymns.

First of all, Stuart Townend’s moving hymn “There is a Hope” ( (c)2007 Thank you Music)  reminds us that

There is a hope that burns within my heart,
That gives me strength for every passing day;
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part,
Yet drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiven;
And Christ in me, the hope of heaven!
My highest calling and my deepest joy,
To make His will my home.

There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Saviour there!
Through present sufferings, future’s fear,
He whispers ‘courage’ in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.

There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home.

Secondly, some older readers may recall the hymn “I vow to thee my Country.” The first verse is a patriotic anthem calling people to love, serve and give allegiance to their nation.  However, it has a far better second verse that points us to where our true citizenship lies.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,

Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;

Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;

And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.