The Christian Hymn Abide with Me includes these words: “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, oh, abide with me.” Abide with me; what does this actually mean to you and me? Do we abide in God’s love, allowing Him to abide in us? Abide in me are powerful words. We ask God to be with us every day, all day. It’s not easy; it requires us to practice this all the time with whomever we meet. It requires prayer.
It requires a concerted spiritual effort, one with the assistance of God to do this. Many of us use such safe words as: “I love my enemies,” “Turn the other cheek,” “I am not racist.” No matter how boastful we are about this, our actions defy the words. I don’t need to set examples; we know what I mean. We speak one way, but actions will not affect daily routines. We are unwilling to contemplate the truth. What we need to do is have a transformational conversion in our thinking and our actions.
We make gods in our own image, and we worship them. I, for one, wear a cross every day. I want people to know that I am a man of faith. I make the cross more important, because I want to spread my joy to the world. Is this making a god of the cross?
How many of us praise public leaders or popular entertainers, turning them into idols? We do this through jealousy, wanting to be like them. And yet, they are merely human, as we are, no better, no worse; at least in God’s eyes. And, isn’t that more important? We also can make idols of ourselves, as in my example above, wearing a cross. We want to build our reputation to bring glory to ourselves, when we should be bringing glory to God.
So, what can we do? Fannie Lou Hammer, a women’s rights activist, once said that Christianity should be about our fellow human being, not about building a million-dollar reputation while there are people sleeping on the streets, begging for a handout to feed themselves or their families. The United States is the richest country in the world, but we don’t see this with all of the homeless people suffering. Jesus, a revolutionary in his time, was not safely in the synagogue, praying to God. He was out with the little person, suffering right next to him. And, he was executed by the powerful because he was a threat to their super-egos.
So, dear Lord, “. . . with me abide; when other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.”