One of my all-time favorite hymns is Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. This well-known hymn was penned by Robert Robinson in 1758. Robinson was preparing to preach at the Calvanist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England and wrote the lyrics to this hymn to accompany his sermon for the day. I wonder, however, if you have ever noticed the word phrasing in the second verse.
Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thine help I’ve come. This is certainly a peculiar statement. What exactly is an “Ebenezer”? Robinson was pointing to 1 Samuel 7 where Samuel placed a stone in response to the Israelites defeating the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant being returned. Samuel named the rock “Ebenezer” and said “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”
For us, the Ebenezer is something that points us to or reminds us of God’s help in our times of need. Certainly, the church is in need of an Ebenezer. This week has been very challenging for many United Methodists. While there are many who are happy, even relieved that the Traditional Plan has passed, there are many left behind who feel hurt, wounded, as if they have no home. During this time of navigating a new path, may our prayers be that we remain faithful to God and that God’s will be done, not our own. May we look to our Ebenezer in our time of need, even in this very moment, and may our prayer be:
“Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
Grace and peace, Dakota