NEARER MY GOD TO THEE
“Nearer my God to Thee” is a 19th Century Christian hymn composed by Sarah Flower Adams in 1841 who came from Harlow in Essex. It is a hymn which will be forever associated with the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic was on her maiden voyage with over 2000 people on-board when she struck an iceberg on April 14th 1912. Of the 2000 passengers and crew only about 710 were saved. It was while the passengers were lining the decks and looking death in the face that the ship’s band (all of whom later perished) played the hymn.
One of the passengers who perished was William.T.Stead a well-known journalist and investigative reporter who had become interested in Spiritualism. His body was never recovered and it was reported that he had given his lifejacket to another passenger and helped women and children into the lifeboats. Ten years later his daughter Estelle and her friend Pardoe Woodham published a book called “The Blue Island : experiences of a new arrival beyond the veil.” The book is composed of messages she received from her father. It is available on Kindle or can be downloaded as a PDF. The hymn “Nearer my God to Thee” was sung at Mr Stead’s memorial service.
It is at moments of crisis in our lives that we most need to feel the nearness of God. Suffering as we are at present with this terrible Pandemic it has been necessary to close down all places of worship. I see nothing wrong with this. We must stop the spread of this virus and it worries me that Church leaders are wanting to reopen churches “so that people have somewhere to go and pray to God.” I have not been able to attend my Spiritualist Church for over a year due to the lockdown but in no way do I feel isolated from God. I can talk to God at any time, in any place and anywhere — I don’t need to be in a church! Now I do like going to church on a Sunday, meeting up with others, singing hymns, listening to the reading and the address by the visiting medium who will later give out messages from the next world. However in no way do I feel obliged to go to church every Sunday. It is my choice! I see God as my best friend and I believe in contacting Him personally when I have a problem or need help and He has never let me down. I do not need to enter a church in order to seek His help.
What does the Bible tell us about the nearness of God. In James 4:8 we read “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” Again in Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him”. How sad that at a moment of terrible worry or crisis in a person’s life they feel that in order to speak to God they need to be in a church and no church is available. It is time that our churches told us how to “practice the presence of God”. The presence of God is not confined to a religious building, a temple, or a room. God’s presence just happens to be wherever God is. That’s everywhere, all day and every day.
Have you heard of Brother Lawrence? Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in a Carmelite Monastery in Paris in the 17th Century. He is remembered for the closeness he expressed about his relationship with God. “The Practice of the Presence of God” is a book of his collected teachings. [Available on Kindle]. Here is one of his quotes. “We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
We should be aware that God knows about us every minute of our lives. Did Jesus not say that “not a sparrow falls to the ground (i.e. dies) but God is aware of it”. If God cares so much for the little sparrow can’t you believe that He cares as much for you also? Let us all obey our government’s rules about defeating this virus plague knowing that God is on our side. He does not want you to catch the Covid virus. He has plans for your life and wants you to fulfil those plans. You are precious in His eyes. Let us all start to practice the presence of God and experience Him every single day in our lives.
I am offering a free copy of my book “Why I am a Spiritualist” to anyone interested. Please contact me by email [email protected]
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