From this notion of ‘remaining steadfast’ the meaning ‘remain in one place’ developed, giving the noun ‘abode’ from the past tense of ‘abide’. The word strongly connotes the idea of standing with or by someone or something, to the point, in today’s reading and John 15, of identification with or indwelling that other. ‘Abide’ inevitably evokes Henry Francis Lyte’s hymn ‘Abide with me’, probably written in 1847 when Lyte realised that he was dying. It is an evening hymn, drawing on the parallel between the end of the day and the end of life.
But this parallel is deepened by the word ‘eventide’ in the first line, drawing on the double meaning of ‘tide’ as ‘time’ and ‘ebb and flow of the sea’. Lyte was perpetual curate at Brixham in Devon and lived by the sea. He would daily have observed the evening tide, giving the idea of life ‘ebbing’ to its close. Lyte’s manuscript copy of this hymn contains the quotation from Luke 24:29, part of the account of the journey to Emmaus: “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent”.