“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

         This week we have been pondering parables about a king who is throwing a wedding banquet for his son.  The invited guests do not come and so others are invited because the king is determined not to waste the prepared food and that his son be celebrated.  The parable is a picture of God’s desire that we all come to final feast with Jesus.  We are invited.  The story has a lesson to teach and as I apply it, I kinda wonder why a king would invite me, someone he doesn’t know or perhaps better that I might not know him.  It made me think of the beloved hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” written by Joseph Sciven in the 1880s.

         Joseph, born in Ireland like St. Patrick we celebrated last week, lost his bride to be when she drowned the eve of their wedding.  That wedding feast never happened and was cloaked in grief.  Some of us are struggling with grief and can empathize!  Joseph, born wealthy and entitled, left Ireland for Port Hope, Canada, where he dedicated his life to helping people.  He became known as the “Good Samaritan of Port Hope,” bringing joy to many.  On learning that his mother in Ireland was dying, he wrote the poem sharing about his good friend, Jesus.  May the words comfort you today if there are areas of grief in your life.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Please enjoy this darling African children’s choir singing this hymn.

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