Friday, July 15, 2016

Stand By Me

Stand By Me (Isaiah 7:9)

         Stand By Me, the 60’s classic by Ben E King, is a love song that extols a lover’s faith in love…

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.
It has become wildly successful because it stirs within us that irrepressible truth about the power of love. The lyrics were originally written for his bride.  Their lifelong marriage endured for fifty-five years.  The song was inspired by a 50’s gospel hymn, but the root of the eternal love it touts, springs from the Heart of God.
         Ben E King probably did not know the title of his song was written twenty centuries earlier:  Ahaz, king of the House of David, was besieged by more powerful nations.  His reign was threatened with ruin.  Instead of relying on the King of Kings, he chose to ally with the pagan king of Assyria.  At this, God sent his prophet Isaiah with these words, ‘The Lord Yahweh says this: …if you do not stand by me, you will not stand at all.’   
         Not unlike Ben E King, God has written a Love Song for us as well -his Holy Word.  It is forever beckoning us.   His call, to ‘stand by me’,  is a call to faith –not just to believe in God, but to believe in God’s Love for us.  We, like Israel, are a Chosen People.  The God who created the Universe, who holds it in Being, has chosen Us to love.  Like Ahaz, God is calling us to have Faith in his Love, to Believe that we will stand secure –that even if the sky should tumble or the mountains crumble, his Love will see us through.  And if human love has such power to endure, how much more, does the Love of Almighty God secure us in Hope?
         Father, I feel besieged –humanity is plagued by nihilism, corruption and violence.  The world I grew up in is gone.  What I hold dear is slipping through my fingers as I watch.  So why Lord, am I not terrified?  Where is the panic?  Can it be your precious Gift of Faith?  How else Lord, can I sing Ben E’s love song to you, my Beloved One? …
          When the night has come
          And the land is dark
          And the moon is the only light we'll see
          No I won't be afraid
          Oh, I won't be afraid
           Just as long as you stand, stand by me
         I Praise you my Lord and God –for every breath and heartbeat; for every goodness bestowed; for every trial you allowed; for every Promise you have kept.  Only Hope lies waiting those you hold in Love.  I place my life into your Tender Love.  I rest secure, for you Stand Eternal –you Stand By Me.