Sunday, November 2, 2014

"O for a Heart to Praise My God"

At church this morning, one of the hymns that we sang was “O for a Heart to Praise My God.”  Click here to read the lyrics and to listen to the song.  The link actually shows a lot more verses than the song had in our hymn book.  The hymn’s words were written by Charles Wesley, and the music was by Thomas Haweis.  The song sounded to me like “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” whose words were also written by Charles Wesley.

The hymn is about the Christian’s wish that God make his or her heart pure, meek, loving, and yielded to God.  I liked the hymn.  I was wondering if there are certain themes that resonate with Christian introverts, and certain themes that resonate with Christian extroverts.  I, as an introvert, happen to like messages that focus on God transforming our sinful hearts, or God loving each of us personally.  Maybe it’s because those messages appeal to my introspective side!  Sermons about reaching out to others, service, and social justice, however, do not resonate with me as much, probably because I would prefer to stay in my home reading than going out and being active in the world.  That does not mean that these themes are unimportant—-they are, very much so, though I would add the caveat that there are ways for introverts to participate in ways that are different from how extroverts participate.

I was also thinking about when I am closer to God: when my heart is relatively pure, or when it is filled with sin.  Well, I cannot say that my heart is ever pure, but there are times when my heart is not preoccupied with anger, resentment, unforgiveness, or anxiety, and instead either has indifference (which is not so pure), or genuine goodwill for others.  I find, though, that I pray more and cling to God more when my heart is filled with sin and I am desperate to feel God’s love and reassurance.  Charles Wesley, though, offers another scenario: suppose one feels closer to God because one’s heart is pure, like the heart of God.

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