Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Never Designed to Make Our Pleasures Less

Psalm 71:23
English Standard Version (ESV)
23 My lips will shout for joy,
    when I sing praises to you;
    my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 70:4
English Standard Version (ESV)
4 May all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
    say evermore, “God is great!”
John 15:11
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
My dad used to say he didn't want to be a Christian when he was a young man because all the women wore long black dresses with their hair pulled back tight in a bun.  His heart must have smiled every time Mom put on lipstick.

Yesterday I came across a phrase and wondered who wrote it.  It was "Religion was never designed to make our pleasures less."  So I googled it and to my surprise discovered it was a line from the hymn, Marching to Zion, written by Isaac Watts.  As often as I've sung that hymn over the years, I had never sung that stanza or even read it in a hymn book.  Was it one of those verses song leaders would skip?  I think I've skipped over pleasures on my march to Zion or at least felt a little guilty about them.  My thinking about Christian joy has been that it comes through or after suffering.  Dare I hope for pleasure?  Isaac Watts did.  So march to Zion with a happy heart and enjoy the journey.
I did find one version of the hymn on Youtube sung with those lyrics sung by Bright Wings.  It will be my next post.  But first I've got to find my lipstick.  

Isaac Watts, Hymn Writer, 1748
Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.

The sorrows of the mind
Be banished from the place!
Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.

Let those refuse to sing
Who never knew our God,
But children of the heavenly King
May speak their joy abroad.

The God that rules on high,
And thunders when he please,
That rides upon the stormy sky
And manages the seas—

This awful [awesome] God is ours,
Our Father and our love;
He shall send down his heavenly powers
To carry us above.

There we shall see his face,
And never, never sin;
There from the rivers of his grace
Drink endless pleasure in.

The sons of grace have found
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow.

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry!
We're marching through Emmanuel's ground
To fairer worlds on high.

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