“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“The Golden Chain”
(Please read Psalm 133 and Colossians 3:12-14)
Whether you’re altogether happy or a bit out of sorts, we know a song that will make you feel better. It is packed with good sentiments wrapped in memorable phrases, including the three words in our title.
The song was written by a young English preacher, Joseph Swain, who had been orphaned in childhood. He was baptized at age 22, in 1783. During the rest of his short life he preached and wrote hymns. In 1792 he produced a song first entitled, “The Grace of Christian Love,” which soon became known by its first four words, “How Sweet, How Heavenly.”
We agree with the songwriter that when Christians are gathered to worship, united in their faith and happy to be together, that is a wonderful sight, one in which heaven delights. The next two verses are soundly based on Bible teaching about sharing both sorrows and joys and exhibiting a kind and forgiving attitude toward one another.
And the last two stanzas recognize the essential ingredient that makes this heavenly sight possible: love. It’s absolutely essential, and we shouldn’t leave home or worship together without it. First, love is pictured as a stream flowing from heart to heart and covering every action. Then comes the beautiful thought that love holds our Christian service together; it is “the golden chain,” described in our second text as “the perfect bond of unity” (NAS). Earlier in his letter to the Colossians, Paul had written of Christians being “knit together in love” (2:2).
How sweet, how heavenly is this hymn which can tighten the golden chain and draw us closer to heaven’s throne!