In sunshine and in rain, drunk or sober, the rugby players of Wales pause before every game to sing a hymn! The hymn, written by William Williams, is “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” If a team does well, its players often repeat their rendition during or after a match, standing to sing “Bread of Heaven, feed me now and ever more.” Why would mostly tipsy competitors in a public athletic match sing such a powerful hymn with passion so intense that tears flow freely among singers and spectators alike?
Sadly it’s the last remnant of the Welsh revival that began in 1904. At the time, the people of Wales worked at their trades and labored in the coal mines as usual – but spontaneous outbreaks of worship became the norm. They couldn’t even complete a rugby match without breaking out to worship to God.
The music lives on, but the passion for God that inspired it didn’t cross the generation line. This outward marker of the God-ward passion of a previous generation has become an empty tradition.
Jesus on several occasions rebuked the Pharisees and called them hypocrites for following their human traditions rather than the Commandments of God. He accuses them of “honoring God with their lips” while their “hearts are far from Him” (Mark 7:6-8).
We must be careful that we are passing on to our children and grandchildren genuine faith. May they see in us genuine faith and love for Jesus, not just empty tradition.
Have a great week.