The Weekly Hymn

I was reminded of a hymn recently that I sang as part of a church choir for Harvest more than 30 years ago. We sung it yesterday, although to a different tune. Even though it’s not that season at the moment, this is a statement of God’s goodness, both in terms of physical and spiritual provision. That is something we can thank him for throughout the year.

Yes, God is good; in earth and sky,
From ocean depths and spreading wood,
Ten thousand voices seem to cry,
“God made us all, and God is good.”

The sun that keeps his trackless way
And downward pours his golden flood,
Night’s sparkling hosts, all seem to say,
In accents clear, that God is good.

The merry birds prolong the strain,
Their song with every spring renewed;
And balmy air, and falling rain,
Each softly whispers, “God is good.”

I hear it in the rushing breeze;
The hills that have for ages stood,
The echoing sky and roaring seas,
All swell the chorus, God is good.

Yes, God is good, all nature says,
By God’s own hand with speech endued;
And man, in louder notes of praise,
Should sing for joy that God is good.

For all Thy gifts we bless Thee, Lord,
But chiefly for our heavenly food;
Thy pardoning grace, Thy quickening word,
These prompt our song, that God is good.

John H Gurney

The Weekly Hymn

This is a hymn that was popular about a century ago. It is in the “Sankey” style. In other words, a hymn on a Gospel theme with a straightforward melody, simple harmony, not the typical “foursquare” tunes of the previous generations.
The hymn takes us to the heart of the Gospel – Jesus paying the price for sin on the cross, and the glorious reality that we can be forgiven even though we don’t deserve it and can offer nothing. Jesus paid it ALL!

I hear the Saviour say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Elvina M Hall

The Weekly Hymn

Here is a hymn that expresses a desire to praise God with the whole of our lives. I don’t need to say any more, the words speak very clearly.

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Charles Wesley

The Weekly Hymn

There are many hymns on the faithfulness of God. One of the best of the modern ones is “What a faithful God have I” by Robert Critchley. He takes us through a different aspect of this truth in each verse: In the first verse we are reminded that God is faithful when we come to him in worship and praise – he always wants to hear us. In verse 2, we move to those times when we go through difficulties and trials. Here God can be relied upon to give us shelter if we rely on him. Finally he is also there to help us as we give help and support to others who need it.

Lord, I come before Your throne of grace
I find rest in Your presence,
And fullness of Joy
In worship and wonder,
I behold Your face
Singing what a faithful God have I

What a faithful God have I
What a faithful God
What a faithful God have I
Faithful in every way

Lord of mercy, You have heard my cry
Through the storm You’re the beacon
My song in the night
In the shelter of Your wings
Hear my heart’s reply,
Singing what a faithful God have I

Lord, all sovereign
Granting peace from heaven
Let me comfort those who suffer
With the comfort You have given
I will tell of Your great love
For as long as I live
Singing what a faithful God have I

Robert Critchley

The Weekly Hymn

Here is undoubtedly one of the best modern resurrection hymns, and certainly one of my favourites. Written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, “See what a Morning” tells the story of what happened on that first Easter Sunday and explains what it all means:

See what a Morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes,
Tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce Christ is risen!
See God’s salvation plan, wrought in love,
Borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man, for He lives:
Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, ‘Where is He laid?’
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty,
Honour and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with power and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

Easter Meditation 8 – He is Risen!

The last in this short series of Easter meditations.

Reading: Mark 16 v 1 – 8

On this Easter Sunday, we read about what happened on the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. It all started with Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome going to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. However, they were shocked to find that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. They had been concerned that it would be too heavy for them to move. They were even more shocked to find an angel in the tomb. Whenever anyone saw an angel, they would invariably be afraid. That is why here, as on the other occasions recorded in Scripture, the first words of the angel were “Do not be alarmed.” Then he gave them the message that Jesus was alive, he had risen from the dead.

They were given a message to take to the disciples, that Jesus was alive and going into Galilee. Interestingly, they were told to tell the disciples AND PETER! This showed that God wanted to restore him after his three time denial of the Lord.

The women were still absolutely terrified, so they simply ran away, and didn’t give that message to anyone. We do learn from the other Gospels that Mary Magdalene did meet the risen Jesus later on, and recognised who he was. At this stage, though the overwhelming emotion was one of fear.

The important thing is that Christ was risen. That meant that his work of redemption on the cross was completed by him and accepted by the Father. He is risen, so death and his enemies have been defeated. Therefore, we can have eternal life.

Let’s thank God today for that tremendous victory.

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Robert Lowry

Easter Meditation 7 – He was buried

The next in the series of Easter Meditations:

Reading: Mark 15 v 42 – 47

The burial of Jesus is not just an incidental add – on to the main story. In fact, the Apostle Paul maintains it is a vital part of the Gospel see 1 Corinthians 15 v 3 – 5. So why is it so important? After all, he had died, is it not then simply natural that he should be buried.

Well, yes, but… this proved that Jesus really did die. He did not fall into some deep sleep or coma. In fact, we see that Pilate even went as far as to check whether he really was dead. The Centurion on duty confirmed that – he would know as well as anyone else whether someone was dead, he had seen enough of them in his time. Actually, Jesus was dead sooner than expected – those who were crucified would often linger in the last throes of death. If someone was trying to pretend that Jesus had died when he had not, they would wait longer to make it sound more credible.

No, Jesus had really died and therefore needed to be buried. Here we see the faith of Joseph of Arimathea. He was one of the religious leaders, but unlike the others he truly recognised who Jesus was. Therefore he wanted to give him a proper burial. That would have made him unpopular with the others on the council who would have felt that Jesus did not deserve this. However, this man had understood something of the Kingdom of God that Jesus had been teaching and in response carried out this act of kindness.

In John’s account we read that he was joined by Nichodemus, another religious leader who had met with Jesus and his life too had been changed. The two of them took the body of Jesus and put it into a tomb and sealed the entrance with a big stone. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw this happening. They would become significant in the next part of the story, which continues tomorrow…

As far as we are concerned, we need to take on board that Jesus really did die. Therefore he was buried. And as he really was dead he took on himself the punishment for our sins. If he did not really die, then that would not be possible. Sacrifices had to be dead not nearly dead. If we believe that, then our response should be the same as that of Joseph and Nichodemus that we will want to do what we can for him in acts of love and kindness.

Low in the grave he lay,
Jesus, my Saviour.
Waiting the coming day
Jesus, my Lord!
(the rest to follow tomorrow!)

Robert Lowry