Each month, we pick a new hymn and sing it at the end of the service every week. This helps us all learn new hymns with a needed repetition. This month (September 2013), we’re singing “Come and Welcome,” by Thomas Haweis who lived from 1734-1820, and was a minister in the Church of England.
I love hymns where we welcome sinners to life in Christ. It connects with our rooster theme, where say, “Wake up! It’s a new day!” and ask people to consider the claims and truth of Jesus as Savior.
But it is odd to sing some of these words. Consider verse three of this hymn.
3. Spread for thee the festal board, see with richest dainties stored.
To Thy Father’s bosom pressed, yet again a child confessed.
Never from His house to roam; come and welcome, sinner, come!
I’m not one to necessarily spread the festal board with the richest dainties, and I get uncomfortable imagining myself in my Father’s bosom. Or anyone’s bosom for that matter.
But I can imagine an awesome celebratory meal with all the fixins. I can imagine the greatest food in your house set before me (invite me over!). That we would spend all our money at Whole Foods and cook the meats, serve the cheeses, pour the wine and beer, and set before your guests a surprising delectable cheesecake. I can imagine incredible birthday parties, wedding receptions and meals I’ve had. Can we call that the richest dainties?
And I can remember in some of my worst nights, my friends who have hugged me with a rugged man hug as I wept tears of guilt, shame, sadness and wonder that anyone could still be my friend. I suppose I was held in their bosom. And I liked it.
I have roamed far, too far. I’m prone to wander. I’m thankful to be welcomed back to this feast, to this meal, to this relationship of love and acceptance because Christ died for me. He went without so I could have so much.
I’m thankful to be welcomed to the grace that God gives through faith in Christ alone.