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The Beginning and the End


Found in the Methodist Hymn Book is an Advent hymn with words by Frederic William Henry Myers, called "Hark What a Sound, and Too Divine for Hearing".

The words go like this:

Hark what a sound, and too divine for hearing,

stirs on the earth and trembles in the air!

Is it the thunder of the Lord's appearing?

Is it the music of his people's prayer?

Surely he cometh, and a thousand voices

shout to the saints, and to the deaf are dumb;

surely he cometh, and the earth rejoices,

glad in his coming who hath sworn: I come!

So even I, and with a pang more thrilling, So even I, and with a hope more sweet, Yearn for the sign, O Christ, of Thy fulfilling, Faint for the flaming of Thine advent feet.

This hath he done, and shall we not adore him?

This shall he do, and can we still despair?

Come, let us quickly fling ourselves before him,

cast at his feet the burden of our care.

Through life and death, through sorrow and through sinning,

he shall suffice me, for he hath sufficed:

Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,

Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.

Some things cannot be heard with human ears, and the coming of Christ is one of these. There is an underlying thrum in Creation that vibrates and eventually will swell with the fulfilment of all the promises given to mankind.

FWH Myers wrote ‘Hark, what a sound, and too divine for hearing’ when he was a Fellow from 1865 to 1874 at Trinity College, Cambridge

Patrick Comerford wrote an excellent short bio of Frederic Myers, and about this particular hymn he says:

"This hymn, describing Christ’s second coming as spoken of in the closing chapter of the Book of Revelation, reveals Myers’s spirituality at the time, and contains the promise of the return and the gathering up of all things in Christ. It tingles with excitement as it expresses all the longing, all the expectancy, all the trust and all the waiting of Advent. This is a hymn not about watching but about listening ... listening for sounds beyond the mortal spectrum. The last verse breaks through the sorrows, fears and sin of the past and the present that gets in the way of looking to the future and the hope of the Second Coming of Christ:

Yea, through life, death, through sorrow and through sinning,

he shall suffice me, for he hath sufficèd:

Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,

Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ."

Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives, our problems, our joys and triumphs, that we forget the end story. It isn't the middle part that counts. That part is full of life's distractions, but in the end all of that is unimportant. We were born to end well, and we have a secure promise of that through Jesus Christ.

Photo credit: Trinity College - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACmglee_Cambridge_Trinity_College_Great_Court.jpg - By Cmglee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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