Hump Day Hymns: If Christ is mine, then all is mine

Hymnal

If Christ is mine, then all is mine,
And more than angels know;
Both present things and things to come,
And grace and glory too.

If Christ is mine, let friends forsake,
And earthly comforts flee;
He, the full source of every good,
Is more than all to me.

If Christ is mine, unharmed I pass
Through death’s dark dismal vale,
He’ll be my comfort and my Stay,
When heart and flesh shall fail.

O Christ, assure me Thou art mine;
I nothing want beside;
My soul shall at the Fountain live,
When all the streams are dried.
Benjamin Beddome (1717-1795)

Last week, in Hump Day Hymns, I reflected on a question which is also pertinent for our hymn for today: Is God enough for me?

This is a question that is becoming increasingly more relevant.

We are witnessing the end of Christendom, and I think that this is a good thing. Our social fabric is becoming closer to that of the early church, when Christianity first flourished. After all, Christianity grew up in a the pluralistic culture of the ancient Roman Empire. It was only later that Christianity became a state religion, became synonymous with riches, power, authority, and empires.

In the days of the early church, Christ was all that they had to offer. Missionaries could not woo people with offering them status, power, or opportunity. There was no special status for Christians, in fact, for quite some time, it could actually work against them. All that they had to offer these people was Christ and the community of Christ.

I welcome the demise of Christendom because Christendom presented an idol. It presented power and strength, it attempted to present an alternative to the one whom we follow, who died naked on a cross.

This is what is so wonderfully formative about this hymn.

If Christ is mine, let friends forsake,
And earthly comforts flee;
He, the full source of every good,
Is more than all to me.

When it comes to my congregation, Christ is all I have to offer them. We are a poor church in a poor community. We aren’t a status church, our building isn’t beautiful, by being a part of our church community it will not give them anything to talk to their friends about (“Oh, well I go to the basilica down the street”). We don’t have a lot of programs for people, we can’t pay their rent. I still have people say to me, “I’ve been going to this church for years…!” But we don’t have anything to offer, except for a deeper understanding of and relationship to the triune God.

This is a question that we wrestle with all the time: Is God enough?

Our ministry can offer nothing except for Christ, is that enough?

This is a very real question for me as well, as I see no stability or security for my own livelihood either.

Like many hymns, this also invites the singer into the famous line, and existence which we all inhabit, “I believe; help my unbelief!” At the same time that one sings, “If Christ is mine, then all is mine,” we pray, “God, help it be so!”

When we sing these words again, and again, they will begin to sink in.

O Christ, assure me Thou art mine;
I nothing want beside;
My soul shall at the Fountain live,
When all the streams are dried.

God, let it be so.

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