By Gil Hanke
For many of us in the UMC, this has been a challenging season. The run up to the Called Session and a flurry of meetings about meetings has taken a toll on me personally. I’m not proud of that, but you may be surprised by what brought me back to a proper focus . . . it was a song.
In a sermon a few weeks ago, our pastor read a Scripture that used the word “winsome”. He noted that we don’t use that word very often. That led me to remember a song written by Michael Blanchard, and made famous by the groups, Glad and Acapella: “Be Ye Glad.”
That song contains the word “winsome” in the final verse.
Although the title, “Be Ye Glad” might lead you to think its theme is, “Everything is good, so be happy and glad,” that is not the case. It begins, “In these days of confused situations, in this night of a restless remorse . . .” Which may describe your feelings recently; it hits close to home for me. But the song goes on to announce, “From the grave of the innocent Adam, comes a song bringing joy to the sad, oh your cry has been heard and the ransom has been paid up in full, be ye glad.”
The Common English Bible translates one of the Beatitudes as “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad” (Matthew 5:4).
The song reminds us that we can be glad in spite of our circumstances because: “Every debt that we have ever had, has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord.” So, we have reason (even in difficult situations) to be glad in the Lord.
And what of the word that started this? The word “winsome” may be found in an “amplified” version of Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and is seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, fix your mind on them.”
Gil Hanke, chief executive officer
General Commission on UM Men