BY ASHLEY TALTON
This piece is part of syndicated series in collaboration with Yale Logos for Lent 2021. You can read the original piece at https://www.yalelogos.com/home/prone-to-wander.
Growing up in a traditional Southern Baptist church, I heard hymns played on the piano every Sunday. Although I tend to prefer modern Christian music, lately I’ve been remembering to appreciate the beauty of hymns that Christians have sung for hundreds of years.
Before this semester began, I attended a winter retreat on Zoom where we had small group discussions, worship, and games. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” has resonated with me ever since hearing it at the retreat. Although it’s a song that I heard many times years ago, it had been tucked far away in the recesses of my mind. I relate particularly to the following lines:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above
My mind wanders when I am trying to pray but thoughts of daily stresses of this world creep in. “You should be working on that problem set,” “You should be studying for that midterm,” “Did you finish that assignment for work?” are all thoughts that constantly distract me during times that I desperately need to be seeking God, who holds all the parts of my life together.
When I’m doing assignments or studying, worship music helps me find peace. Music helps me to remember the significance of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, stilling my heart when it wants to wander.
Last Easter, just a few weeks after everyone had been sent home from campus, our physical separation made worship songs more important and impactful for me than ever before. It was a way to remain connected with other believers, the church.
Because I heard words every year like “Jesus is alive!”, the gravity of such phrases was lost on me. By observing Lent, this is no longer an empty phrase. Lent is a time to center our hearts on God instead of getting distracted by the day-to-day events that loom over us. In the past, when I wasn’t around many others that observed Lent, it was easy to focus on the joy of the Resurrection and less on the suffering that happened before it. Reflection on what Jesus endured before His ultimate victory is necessary, though, and makes celebrating His victory so much sweeter.
Ashley is a sophomore studying Psychology on the Neuroscience track at Yale.