The Army and Abide With Me Lord..!

By Robert Clements. Dated: 1/25/2020 12:33:33 AM

A few years ago, I had the privilege of being the MC for the annual Navy Week in Mumbai, and later it was on the lawns of Navy House, I was introduced to the Vice Admiral. "Thank you for your wonderful emceeing you did, and also for the piece you wrote on the navy," he said and even as I smiled my head turned as I heard the strains of 'Abide With Me,' as the sun set that evening.
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, Lord abide with me.
And then the trumpeters on top of the Gateway joined in and I sang softly with them my favourite verse:
I need Thy presence, every passing hour;
What but thy grace can foil the tempters power,
Who like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine Lord, Abide with me.
This hymn has been played by buglers, trumpeters, drummers sometimes by a lone flautist for soldiers at the end of a long day at battle, to tell them to retreat from fighting and rest for the night. And what better thought, then asking the Lord to stay by their side through the darkness of the night. What a beautiful way, to be restored, repaired and rejuvenated with the Lord abiding with you through the night.
And yet, suddenly, the hymn, which was also the favourite hymn of the Father of our Nation, has been removed this Republic Day at the Beating of the Retreat!
A hymn that has strengthened the hearts of millions through the ages, is suddenly thought of as unnecessary for our brave soldiers:
When the famous nurse Edith Cavell, went down before a German firing squad, she whispered the words of, "Abide With Me," and smiled as bullets hit her, knowing her Lord was abiding with her as she died. When the ship, R.M.S. Stella was sinking with one hundred and five victims during the Second World War, a woman, one of the noble identified, stood on the bridge and sang the hymn until the others were singing along with her. They went down with no fear in their hearts as they clasped the hand of God, abiding with them!
The hymn has given strength to millions, and I hope that even as the army feel they do not need this hymn anymore, that the Lord will be with them, as he has been with every war and battle they have fought and won!
This Sunday on Republic Day in every place of worship, sing the hymn, and with me let us raise the last verse in crescendo:
I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is deaths sting? Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
bobsbanter@gmail.com

 

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