This year our theme for the school year, especially for our weekly chapel services, was taken from this hymn from Christian Worship Supplement, “Christ Is With Me.” During the year, I covered as many aspects of Christ’s presence among us as I could, generally following the themes of the church year. Here are a few highlights:
- September: Christ is with us when we gather in his name. Because of his promise, he is with us when we worship him, from invocation to benediction.
- October: Christ is with us at all times and in all places. We noted God’s presence by night and day, and no matter where we might travel.
- November (End Time): Christ is with us to the very end. Whether that is the end of our earthly life, or the end of this world, Christ will never leave.
- December: God is with us in his son, Immanuel. Now that he has become our brother, Christ is never separate from us, for he is one of us.
- January: In baptism, we are connected with Christ. His righteousness is ours; our sin is his.
- February: Christ is with us through cross and suffering. In fact, especially in times of danger, fear, and sadness, Christ assures us of his presence.
- March (Lent): Christ is with us because he suffered and died. He was abandoned by his people, his disciples, and finally by God himself. Left alone, so that we never would.
- April (Easter): Christ is risen. Had he remained in the grave, he could not be with us. But a living Christ can keep his promise to never leave us.
- May (Ascension): Jesus left his disciples when he ascended into heaven, but not really. In fact, when he sits on his throne, he is closer than ever before. Jesus’ ascension guarantees his presence with us constantly, and especially in the means of grace.
This is just a summary of a whole year of chapel devotions. This Sunday, our students will be singing this hymn in church. Our kids have been practicing at home, and so I have had the privilege of listening to these deep scriptural truths sung to me by the kids. The verses are paraphrases of verses from Romans 6, John 15, and Galatians 2.
We were buried with him into death,
That as he was raised by God’s glory,
We might walk in life made new by grace.
Having died with Christ, we shall live with him.
Christ is with me ev’rywhere I go. Never to leave me, this I know.
I have now been grafted to the vine,
Drawing life from roots rich in mercy,
Bearing fruit as I abide in him:
Fruit forever fresh, glorifying God.
I have now been crucified with Christ.
I no longer live; Christ lives in me.
Now I live by faith in God’s own Son,
One who loved me so—gave himself for me.
Text: Gerald Patrick Coleman, b. 1953, alt