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In the whatever – ABIDE with me

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And look and see, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was chief tax farmer and was abundantly rich. He was actively seeking to see who Jesus is.  But he had no ability to compete with the crowd, because in standing he was tiny. So having run ahead into the front, he climbed up into a fig-mulberry tree to see him, since he was to pass through there. When Jesus came to the place, looking upwards, he said to him, “Zacchaeus, full of earnestness, come down, for today I must ABIDE at your house.” So, full of earnestness, he came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look and see, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19: 1-10
 
ABIDE with me, fast falls the eventide; 
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide; 
When other helpers fail and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. 

Evening? Darkness? Helpless?

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Joys gone? Glories past?

 
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‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … Abide in my love. … These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.’ (Jesus speaking to his disciples AD 30 on the Thursday night before his crucifixion)
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

Powerful temptation? Guideless? Insecure?

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? 
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Foes? Ills? Tears? Death? Grave?
 
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‘By this we know that we abide in him [Jesus] and he [Jesus] in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (John the Apostle writing circa AD 90)
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies,
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

In life? In death? Whatever.....

 
Richard Syvret

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