Tag Archives: wander

I Wonder As I Wander

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

Words and Music are a Traditional Appalachian Hymn, compiled in 1933 by John Jacob Niles

 


For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5 – 8


 

 

I love to get away from the busyness and noise of daily life. I have been this way my whole life. I grew up on a farm and spent many hours just wandering in the grove that was on the property. Things haven’t really changed that much. I still like to get away into nature. This is why I so enjoy camping and hiking. The opportunity to get away from everything and find a peaceful time of reflection.

It’s something we all need, to take the time away to reflect, so at Christmastime it seems fitting to take the time of reflection to consider the events of Christmas and their full meaning. This is the theme found in the old Appalachian hymn, “I Wonder as I Wander.” No author nor composer is known for this hymn but its haunting melody draws us into the words inviting us to reflect on them.

So we consider “How Jesus the Savior did come for to die. For poor on’ry people like you and like I.” That was it, His reason for coming.  Mark 10:45 tells us, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Yes, this is the reason He came, and not just to save the righteous, He came to save “poor on’ry people like you and like I.” This is why: Paul tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He came to die on behalf of us, who seem nothing but trouble to Him.

The hymn goes on to discuss with us that, Jesus was born “in a cow’s stall.” It reminds us that He was surrounded by farmers and shepherds.  Yet, despite this lowly setting, he was a King.  As a King, everything was within His realm. Imagine a King, someone with the right to whatever He chooses, but who enters the world through such a humble setting.  He is a King who has willingly put himself within our reach. (Philippians 2:5 – 8)

So as we find ourselves in this Christmas season, we reflect on the full meaning of God’s gift to is.  We take time to step away from our hectic lives.  So we sing the words with a new meaning, “I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”

 

 

Read more about “I Wonder as I Wander.”

Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Written by Robert Robinson, 1758
Music by John Wyeth, 1813

 

Of the many hymns I have known and sung over the years, this is one that routinely comes to mind. I will often find myself singing these words, sometimes without even knowing it.

But as I sing these words, it is the third stanza that makes me stop and think.

“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

I have been a christian for as long a I can remember. I was raised in a Christian home. I attended church regularly. I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was very young. I studied youth ministry in college and earned a Masters of Divinity degree. But that is in the past and means little to nothing when it comes to living my life now on a daily basis.

You see, when I rest in these events of the past, when I trust in my own strength I find myself doing exactly this. I find myself “prone to leave the God I love.” As Paul writes in Romans 7:19 “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” I am a Christian, how can this be the case?

I remember a few years ago when I was thinking about the phrase “there, but for the grace of God, go I” that it suddenly hit me what that meant. I, like all of us, am a sinful being and my nature is to seek after that. To seek those things that simply serve me, to seek after my own pleasure, and to not care about anyone else. Yes, left to my own devices, I fear to think where I would be.

But thanks be to God that I do not have to face this alone. For I can find strength in the words of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” It is in Christ that I can find the strength to stand firm. It is because of this that I find the deepest meaning in the first part of this stanza:

“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”

My debt is to Christ and the grace of God. And , O how great a debt. A debt, I can not repay, but a debt I freely owe. It is not a debt that God lords over me. Rather, it is a debt he gives in love and so, it is this love that binds me to Him. It is because of this that I joyfully declare the last phrase of this stanza, “Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”

So, “here I raise my ebenezer” (helper stone). A reference to a monument that stands as a reminder to God’s help. (I Samuel 7:12). And I stand fixed on the “mount of God’s redeeming love.”

You can read the full text of Robert Robinson’s poem by clicking “Come Thou Fount.”