Hymns: Like a Mighty River Flowing

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

Like a mighty river flowing
Like a flower in beauty growing
Far beyond all human knowing
Is the perfect peace of God.”

Music often reminds me of certain situations. So it is with this music. I love the tune, and the harmonies. I love the words. But it takes me back to a point last year where I wasn’t in the best of places. When I just felt a deep longing and melancholy. When I was counting down the weeks until my parents came to visit. When I was going on walks at night just to feel some of God’s peace and presence. So it should really be no surprise that, when this piece came to mind earlier today, I started to feel just a little homesick.

When my parents came up to visit, I stayed with them for a night in the Yorkshire Dales.

Like the hills serene and even
Like the coursing clouds of heaven
Like a heart that’s been forgiven
Is the perfect peace of God.”

This piece is so evocative of the beauty I found there, and often crave. If I start to feel homesick, sad, lonely, or isolated, I look to where I experience God the most. In creation, and in tradition. I love worshipping in the same building as people from hundreds of years ago. Singing the same hymns as people from hundreds of years ago. And knowing that I worship the same, unchanging God as them.

But I also experience God in creation. And that’s something I don’t see too much of during term time. So weirdly I’m currently a little bit “homesick” for that.

The hymn is so evocative of everything that I crave so much. Yet it has the answer as well. I know I’m at uni and don’t have the chance to experience everything it suggests. But everything it suggests is in comparison to the amazing presence and peace of God. The peace that passes all understanding. I guess this means a little re-evaluation. What do I really want?

It’s all pointing to my need of God. His peace, His love, His compassion. Something so vast, so valuable, and so unimaginable.

Like the azure ocean swelling
Like the jewel all-excelling
Far beyond our human telling
Is the perfect peace of God”


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