Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-1885

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Hebrews 4:9-11

Christopher Wordsworth, a nephew of the renowned English poet, William Wordsworth, reminds us in this hymn that since God rested after His acts of creation, we who are made in His image also need a day of rest and spiritual renewal. We need the encouragement and fellowship of other believers to keep our lives aglow for God. The manner in which we remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy reflects our true devotion to God. Likewise, since the early church met after the Sabbath (on the first day of the week, which began at sundown of "Saturday"), we have accepted as custom the observance of the Lord's Day--the blessed day of our Saviour's bodily resurrection--for our main day of group worship of the LORD.

Christopher Wordsworth was a bishop, a noted scholar, and a distinguished writer. He composed 127 hymn texts that were intended to teach the truths of Scripture and encourage worship. "O Day of Rest and Gladness"--his only hymn widely used today--focuses on the doctrine of the Trinity. In the second stanza, the triune Godhead is compared to three important events or a "triple light" that occurred on the first day of the week: The creation of light (Genesis 1), the resurrection of Christ (the Gospels), and the sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1). In the final stanza, Wordsworth addresses each member of the Godhead by name, as the church raises its perpetual voice to "Thee, blest three in One".

O day of rest and gladness, O day of love and light,
O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright:
On Thee, the high and lowly, through ages joined in tune,
Sing holy, holy, holy, to the great God Triune.

On Thee, at the creation, the light first had its birth;
On Thee, for our salvation, Christ rose from depths of earth;
On Thee, our Lord, victorious, the Spirit sent from Heav'n,
And thus on Thee, most glorious, a triple light was given.

Thou art a cooling fountain in life’s dry, dreary sand;
From thee, like Pisgah’s mountain, we view our promised land.
A day of sweet perfection, a day of holy love,
A day of resurrection, from Earth to things above.

Thou art a holy ladder, where angels go and come;
Each SonDay finds us gladder, nearer to Heav'n, our Home;
A day of sweet reflection, thou art a day of love,
A day of resurrection from Earth to things above.

Today on weary nations the heavenly manna falls;
To holy convocations the silver trumpet calls,
Where Gospel light is glowing with pure and radiant beams,
And living water flowing, with soul refreshing streams.

New graces ever gaining from this our day of rest,
We reach the rest remaining to spirits of the blessed.
To Holy Ghost be praises, to Father, and to Son;
The church her voice upraises to Thee, blessed Three in One.

*For Today*: Genesis 1:3-5; Psalm 118:24; Isaiah 58:13 & 14; Revelation 14:13

Do you look forward to the Lord's Day at the start of each week, when you can worship God in your local church with other believers? How can these special days become a more meaningful time of renewal and refreshment for you and your family?

Music Courtesy of The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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