Wednesday, 14 December 2011


I have several favourite hymns and one of them is the hymn "I cannot tell" I like the tune, and tunes and words are so much an integrated part of each other when it comes to hymns. But that apart, it’s the words which I find really speak to me. I have been interested to find that in the hymn book Common Praise it is down as a Christmas Hymn.

1  I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship,                            
    should set his love upon the sons of men, or why,    
    as Shepherd, he should seek the wanderers,
    to bring them back, they know not how or when.
    But this I know, that he was born of Mary,
    when Bethlehem's manger was his only home,
    and that he lived at Nazareth and laboured,
    and so the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is come.

One of the things I find totally incredible is that God should be so concerned about his creation, us, that he sent his Son., his only Son to be born in a cave (stable) in Bethlehem. Not only that but as it says in the second verse:

2   I cannot tell how silently he suffered,
     as with his peace he graced this place of tears,
     or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
     the crown of pain to three-and-thirty years.
     But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted,
     and stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
     and lifts the burden from the heavy-laden,
     for yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is here.

The suffering that Jesus will undergo for our redemption is all ready known as soon as he is born. Mary is warned that a sword will pierce her heart by Simeon. It is quite poignant. But we know that his death was not the end but the beginning.

3   I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
     how he will claim his earthly heritage,
     how satisfy the needs and aspirations
     of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
     But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
     and he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
     and some glad day his sun shall shine in splendour
     when he the Saviour, Saviour  of the world, is known.

Mission is a responsibility of all of us. It's something we take very seriously at S. Augustine’s, Rush Green.

 4   I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
     when, at his bidding, every storm is stilled,
     or who can say how great the jubilation
     when every human heart with love is filled.
     But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
     and myriad, myriad human voices sing,
     and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer,
    at last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!

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