And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
John Fawcett (1740-1817), the author of the following hymn, was converted at the age of sixteen under the ministry of George Whitefield (1714-1770). While pastoring a small Baptist Church in Wainsgate, England, he accepted a call to pastor a considerably larger church in London. When all his family’s earthly goods were being loaded for the move to London, many of the Fawcett’s parishioners were in tears. His wife went to her husband and lamented, “John, I cannot bear this.” “Neither can I,” responded her husband. Turning to the movers, he said, “Unload the wagons and put everything as it was before.”* With this episode in mind, Fawcett later wrote the following words.
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.**
Some seventeen-hundred years before John Fawcett penned the above words, the Apostle John wrote to first-century believers: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1 John 3:14). There is nothing that oils the church’s machinery more than agape love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Love “binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
*Retrieved from “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” cyberhymnal.org.
**“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” by John Fawcett.