United Church of Christ

Into the Mystic: Tune My Heart

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There is a hymn I have always loved singing. The title of it is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

The second line of that hymn reads “tune my heart to sing thy grace.”

That line has always spoken deeply to me.

It speaks to God directly, asking Her to take control.

It is a line that invites a submission to the will and way of the sacred. It admits to either an unwillingness or an inability to sing God’s grace when left to our own willful and obstinate ways. Wanting more, expecting more, from ourselves we subjugate our will to the Creator’s and ask Her to tune our hearts to sing her grace.

I am moved by that.

Grace is a virtue often overlooked or undervalued.

A recent writer called ours a ‘culture of contempt’. He observed that we are fed by the ‘outrage industrial complex’ – a network of media moguls and talking heads that tell us what we want to hear and fuel our anger and contempt for those who stubbornly refuse to see things our way.

I feel the pain and division of such contempt.

I witness all too frequently these days an abandonment of grace. I watch too much television that causes me to wonder how otherwise smart and compassionate people could be so wrong about life’s most important matters. I read too many articles that support both my point of view and reinforce my bewilderment at the seeming ignorance of those who disagree with me.

Thinking about all of that found me rehearsing the second line from this great hymn: tune my heart to sing thy grace.

And so here I am, a disciple of one we know as Jesus who said “Love your enemies.”

Add to that his call to turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, if asked for a tunic give them your cloak as well, and pray for those who persecute you. These statements are less about being weak that about ending the cycles that perpetuate contempt.

There is something utterly disarming about grace. Grace is really only grace when it is both unexpected and undeserved. As a disciple of Jesus, I have come to accept that God’s love for me is large enough to see through my faults and failings and love me as I am. Any time we experience that, it changes us. For me, that awareness of a love undeserved and unearned can shatter feelings of despair and doubt and self-loathing.

It is both incongruous and hypocritical for me to have my life changed by that grace and then treat another one of God’s children with contempt, with disdain, with rancor, or with retribution. Because I tend to orient that way, and because I live in what has become a culture of contempt fed by the outrage industrial complex, I remind myself over and over again to offer this simple prayer:

Come o fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace.

Gentle listener, if you want to you can find a thousand ways to hate another. If you desire, you can find as many ways to feel contempt and believe you are justified for doing so. The cycles of violence, terror, and war we so deplore are fed by these inclinations.

Choose grace instead.

Invite God to tune your heart to sing Her grace on this, your journey Into the Mystic.


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