Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel



Abide with Me

Lent 2018

When I was a kid growing up in Milwaukee, we religiously attended Wednesday evening services during the Lenten season. Each service, as I recall, concluded with the hymn “Abide with Me,” the lights in the nave grew darker with each stanza until the final stanza, which we sang a cappella, was in near total darkness.

Today when I sing “Abide with Me,” memories of those childhood Lenten services flood into my head. I recall my now-sainted father, the pastor of our church, standing humbly in the chancel leading the singing. I recall the sense of calm and security I felt as I looked at my father and stood quietly next to my mother, brothers and sister.

I also recall understanding the opening lines of the hymn—“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide” —to mean, quite literally, “Be with me Lord tonight.” I had a vague sense of the eternal significance of the final line of the hymn— “In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me” —but I think I was pretty much focused on the present.

As an adult my understanding of the hymn has deepened, has expanded to understand the breadth of the hymn writer’s prayer to the Lord, a prayer for earthly comfort and peace, but also a prayer of thanks for his ultimate triumph over death and the grave.

Lord, thank you for your promise to abide with us in life, in death, and into eternity.

Kurt Krueger, President
Concordia University Irvine

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