Come Thou Fount
Hymns are a critical element of Christian Worship. The lyrics are crafted with a depth and care that is missed in many songs today. One of the songs we “cover” as a band is Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. As I’ve studied the lyrics to the song it has revealed something to me about myself that makes me uneasy. I may sing the words “Come thou fount” but when it comes down to it, I’m actually more interested in the “of every blessing” part.
All five verses
Originally there were five verses to the song. I discovered them on wikipedia. Each verse addresses the question, “What does it mean to desire intimacy with the source of all blessing?”
Think about that for a second.
The song in an invitation for God to draw near. It’s not a request for blessing, it assumes that the blessing is already there begging the question, “where did this blessing come from?”. The singer is responding with a desire to be closer to God. The challenge to me became, “do I want to be closer to God so I can have more blessings? The author doesn’t really give us that option.
The richness and depth in these lyrics are powerful, but only after taking the time to unpack them. Going through the process of really understanding a song always makes it more meaningful and memorable for me.
1. Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
2. Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
3. Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
4. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to 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.
5. O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
Now, Let Me Sum Up
Let me sum up each verse in new language that might capture it more clearly.
God, Your healing, mountain-sized love compels me to join heaven and all of creation in singing and shouting your praise.
My mortal body holds me back from seeing You how I so desperately desire. I’ll do the best I can with what I know because You’re the one who has brought me here, but I can’t wait to see you face-to-face.
Jesus, You rescued me before I even knew you. In fact, I was wandering away from you, and yet you sacrificed your life to save me. I can’t begin to now express my gratitude for that act of divine kindness, but I look forward to when I’m in heaven.
Because You saved me, I owe You everything. I’m happy to be in your debt and will gladly shackle myself to you to show my loyalty and commitment. I know my tendency to wander didn’t end when you found me the first time, so take my heart, my passion, my desires, I give them all to You because you have given me more than I could ever begin to give back.
One day, I will see my Savior. I’ll see the One that sacrificed it all in my place. Don’t delay! Why wait to take me home! My heart belongs only to You and there’s nothing that I want more than to be with You.
The verse progresses from a desire to praise God, to the realization that we lack the tools to adequately do so, to gratitude that leads to self sacrifice, and finally to a desire to give it all up be in Heaven.
The blessings are meant to entice us along a trail that we follow to the source. Allow the blessings to motivate you and entice you to wonder where they’re coming from. God has not called us to blessings, he’s called us to himself. Let’s not get confused about which is better!