As I was walking around the nearby St. Lucas church today, a familiar hymn tune kept playing in my head. I couldn’t quite get a hold of its identity. All that came to mind were two phrases. “Pavilioned in splendor; His canopy of grace.” I thought that was a great image. God sitting in a pavilion providing a canopy of grace under which I could take refuge against the storms of life and strengthen my faith.
After supper, I looked up the word, “canopy” in my hymnal concordance thinking that reading the entire stanza might deepen my understanding of what the hymn writer meant by “canopy of grace.”
The hymn turned out to be “O Worship the King.” Furthermore, well you know how your mind can mix things up, the phrase isn’t “His canopy of grace” but “whose canopy space.”
However, my mind wasn’t completely confused in dredging up particles of a hymn. Because the stanza does speak of grace, in fact its invites us to “Sing of His grace.”
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
So, what about God in his splendid pavilion? That comes near the end of the first stanza.
“Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.”
I think the hymn writer, Robert Grant (1779-1838), is using such over the top language because he is trying to describe the indescribable. The key to where he is taking us “Frail children of dust” is found in his very first words. He is inviting us to “Worship the King, all glorious above.” That’s a good thing to do anytime of the day as we live under his grace space.