I enjoy playing the piano in my home for the pleasure of it, and it also is a lovely opportunity to pray and worship. Yesterday, I was playing the old gospel hymn,”Sweet By and By.”
There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar,
For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.
Refrain: In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
That’s the first verse. I suppose many of you remember it, and the melody is now playing in your mind. These are precious words, but the third verse struck me.
To our bountiful Father above we will offer our tribute of praise,
For the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our days.
All of the words in all the verses are rich with thoughts worthy of our reflection, but the second line of this third verse amazed me and reframed my life in my mind. Hallow. Hallow means holy, set apart , sacred, sanctified — like a sanctuary — a holy place. According to this line, what is hallowed? Our days. Our bountiful Father hallows our days (our lives) by filling them with His love and blessings. His blessings are lavished on us in endlessly abundant and diverse ways. This is so true: just breathe, look, and listen.
How is “hallow” or “hallowed” used in Scripture? In the Lord’s prayer, we are told that the Father is “hallowed,” so how dare we borrow this word that describes the sacredness of our God in order to apply it to ourselves.
Well, a study of the use of the Bible words that mean hallow, holy, set apart, sacred, sanctify/sanctuary, are applied in Scripture not only to God (each person of the trinity), but also to persons, places, and things. So, maybe in the next week or so, we should look at some of these verses and reflect upon their meaning to our lives.
I believe we’ll see that Sanford Bennett, the author of the lyrics for “Sweet By and By,” is right on. Our days are hallowed — set apart for God. Whatever we are doing, whatever we are thinking, however we are reacting — all is meant to be hallowed. If we reframe our mundane days as sacred, our location as a sanctuary, our activities as purposeful (set apart for a purpose), then cleaning up after a sick person, or grocery shopping under the tension of very limited resources, and so on — will take on a beauty.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come — to my home, family, and friends.
Thy will be done — in my life and in the lives of those I love — on earth
As it is in heaven — for You have sanctified — made sacred — Your creation and Your people.*
The tedious duties as well as the exciting times of my life are a part of a richly colored and textured personal landscape that is sacred. We can sing, “To our bountiful Father above, we will offer our tribute of praise….“
How do your attitudes change when you frame all scenes within your life as part of God’s sacred canvas?
*Note The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6: 9-10 and through 6:13.
Thank you for this insight. A blessed way to end my day. What a great perspective this will help me begin anew with tomorrow.
That is a hymn that I haven’t heard or thought about in a long while~ thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts.
I try to remember the verse from I Cor. 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ” I find that it greatly helps my attitude (esp. to keep the self-pity thwarted)
Thank you. This has long been a favorite hymn that your thoughts have further enriched.