One of the joys of weddings and funerals these days is the ‘home produced’ order of service. I used to spend my days in York Minster ensuring I saw this kind of thing before publication. It’s very difficult to do that for a funeral in parish life.

I took a funeral today, and the Order of Service (which I’d not seen) was beautifully produced – the son was a graphic designer. He’d included the hymns – and the hazard here is that they get grabbed from the internet. Thus it was that we had 8, not 5, verses for Abide with me.

I like hymns, and research them when I can. I’d not come across these ‘middle’ verse before though. I love them!  Verse 3 begs Jesus not to walk by, and rather to be ‘condescending’ – being with us at our level rather than being superior. Verse 4 looks for mercy, not judgement, and verse 5 is all about teenage rebellion. Brilliant.

It’s all the more poignant when the story of the hymn reveals that Lyte died three weeks later. And it was poignant for me because my funeral today was of a man who had had mental illness for nearly 50 years, and whose family had stuck with him through all that time.

So here are the verses. Enjoy.

3. Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

4. Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

5. Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

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