A paraphrase and a hymn from the early days of my Christian life came winging their way back to me today. My conversion centered upon the cross upon this amazing truth that “the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.” That never ceased to amaze Paul even after years of Christian living and ministry, and it has never ceased to amaze me. It is where I have lived and ministered from too, even if not in as astonishing and history changing way as Paul. I said in my last blog to this one that there is always a danger that our Christianity shifts its centre of gravity from what Christ has done for us to what we can do for Him. We have turned Christianity into a 2 letter word “DO” and sometimes forget the liberating life changing truth that the centre of Christian doctrine and living and fruitful service is a 4 letter word, “DONE!”
Maybe you need to remember that. I know that everything moves on. I love many of the new songs that God has blessed his people with in recent years. However, I must admit, I miss singing these wonderful words about the cross… I hope this is more than nostalgia, and blesses you…
“The Savour died but rose again”
The Saviour died, but rose again
Triumphant from the grave;
And pleads our cause at God’s right hand,
Omnipotent to save.
Who then can e’er divide us more
From Jesus and his love,
Or break the sacred chain that binds
The earth to heaven above?
Let troubles rise, and terrors frown,
And days of darkness fall;
Through him all dangers we’ll defy,
And more than conquer all.
Nor death nor life, nor earth nor hell,
Nor time’s destroying sway,
Can e’er efface us from his heart,
Or make his love decay.
Each future period he will bless,
As he has blessed the past;
He loved us from the first of time,
He loves us to the last.
“We sing the praise of Him who died”
We sing the praise of him who died,
of him who died upon the cross;
the sinner’s hope let men deride;
for this we count the world but loss.
Inscribed upon the cross we see
in shining letters, God is love:
he bears our sins upon the tree:
he brings us mercy from above.
The cross: it takes our guilt away,
it holds the fainting spirit up;
it cheers with hope the gloomy day,
and sweetens every bitter cup.
It makes the coward spirit brave,
and nerves the feeble arm for fight;
it takes its terror from the grave,
and gilds the bed of death with light.
The balm of life, the cure of woe,
the measure and the pledge of love,
the sinner’s refuge here below,
the angel’s theme in heaven above.
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, however you or I voted, it is amazing how angry people can get at a democratic vote. The story is growing that the vote went the way it did because of the old, the poor and the stupid, the non thinking and the gullible…and those are some of the kinder words being used to explain the result. I find it all at least a bit cynical, and even at times sinister. I guess we all feel more fond of democracy when the majority think like me and share my convictions and stress the facts I stress and ignore the facts I ignore and are persuaded by reasons that persuade me, if we are honest. Whatever, I am thinking of what G.K. Chesterton said once about the Church of Jesus Christ; he said it was such a true democracy that we even give a vote and a voice to the dead, to past generations of believers, in the church of the present day! Church traditions are not all bad just because they are old. Likewise, the worship songs of the past should not be thrown out because they are old or because there are wonderful and blessed newer songs around, though they should have a voice too and not be shut out just because they are new: God’s people have since bible days been called to sing new songs to the Lord about His present activity as well as old songs that celebrate the mighty deeds of God in days of old. I am not sure how many in the church like the idea of such a democracy. Just saying… whether anyone listens or not! After all, we do live in a democracy do we not?