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Part of my on-going analysis of some of our hymns, has caused me to consider the word "tarry" (hymn 100 for example) and the associated ideas.
Modern definitions are:
1. To delay or be late in going, coming, or doing something:
2. To wait or stay temporarily:
The more archaic meaning (probably more in keeping with our hymns), is simply "to wait". So although it could come over that "Our Lord" (and exactly who that is, we'll consider in a moment) is loitering, lingering or dawdling rather than getting on with the task of establishing the Kingdom, he is simply waiting for the right time.
Now some hymns suggest that it is Jesus who is tarrying. In the sense of waiting he is indeed:
12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
13waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.
So Jesus is waiting too. Its not just us. But Jesus is not delaying, as hymn 98 suggests (verse 3 - How long wilt thou delay?). Jesus is as keen to get on with the establishment of the Kingdom as we are to see him do it, but like us, he must wait for God.
And God is waiting too:
[2Pe 3:9 NASB] 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
So perhaps it all comes back to us. Perhaps, rather than singing "why tarriest Thou?", we should be asking what else we can do to spread the Gospel and reach those last sheep, so the sheep-fold can be closed and Christ can return.
[Mat 24:14 KJV] 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
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