Skip to main content

A tale of two hymnals

I was recently attending a church service where, as it so often happens, the hymn "O Church Arise" was on the hymnal list. The hymn is generally very lovely, but I always struggle singing this verse :

So Spirit, come put strength in every stride,
Give grace for every hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory.

It is clear that this verse is inspired by Revelation and Hebrews. But unfortunately, the last lines can be easily misunderstood by non-Christians or those new to Christ. In other words the sort of people churches ought to pay special attention to.

There is also potential for grow misunderstanding from those raised in certain cultural and religious traditions. For example, the error of ancestral worship is prevalent in African traditions. There is also the flawed saints theology of Anglican and Catholicism.

The line of particular interest is this : "As saints of old still line the way/ Retelling triumphs of His grace/ We hear their calls and hunger for the day". We certainly don't hear the words of the saints. We hear the words of God. And if we are hearing words of saints we should quickly speak with church leaders.

The hymn writers cleared want to reflect the Hebrews 12:1 spirit. They presumably want to say we are inspired by the old saints. Unfortunately, it comes out slightly dangerous. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses but we cannot hear the witnesses directly, except through the words of the Bible.

On the flip side, I have been very encouraged recently singing Amazing Grace recently. The full traditional seven verses. I have noticed that some modern versions try and shorten it. The casualty is usually this verse :

Through many dangers, toils and snares, 
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

I find this verse to be the most encouraging. It is no good holding onto great promises if such promises have no real world validity. Faith is not something that just floats heavenly. True faith proceeds from God's word which directs us to look around and see how God is working. As the Bible, "taste and see that the Lord is good!"  

That knowledge of how God is already at work in our lives builds our confidence to trust God more and more. We can be sure that we will see God face to face, not only because the Bible says so, but because we can see God already at work in our olives. God is at work through all dangers, toils and snares!

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2015

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jesus Never Fails

Many a times in my life, the words of this childhood hymn has been a tremendous encouragement. I pray this may encourage you too. Keep looking to Jesus!
Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your mother will let you down Your father will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your husband will let you down Your wife will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your brothers will let you down Your sisters-will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your church will let you down Your work will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your friends will let you down Your country will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your wealth will let you down Your health will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Copyri…

Pornography as Occultism

There is a kind of helplessness that a man engaged in pornography exhibits. He often speaks of it in terms of a “struggle” or an “addiction.” Now both of those terms are accurate, I believe, but they distance a person from his sin in a soul-decaying manner. Pornography is not just an addiction; it is occultism. The man who sits upstairs viewing pornography while his wife chauffeurs the kids to soccer practice is not some unusual “pervert”; he is (like his forefather Adam) seeking the mystery of the universe apart from Christ. That’s the reason the one picture, stored in his memory, of that naked woman will never be enough for him. He will never be able to be satisfied because he will never be able to get an image naked enough. I say pornography is occultism because I believe the draw toward it is more than biological (though that is strong). The satanic powers understand that “the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). They understand that the pornographic …

7 fascinating facts about Bexleyheath

I just finished reading Bexleyheath : A History by John Mercer as part of my effort to know a little about the history of our new local area. We have been living here for the last four months and it is a wonderful area indeed. Here are seven fascinating things about Bexleyheath mentioned in the book.

1. Two hundred years ago much of Bexley Heath was an area of wide-open land largely uncultivated. It was not until 1894, that the two words were put together.

2. On 5 June 1739, George Whitfield, a prominent preacher associated with John Wesley, came to the highway and preached by the pond opposite the Golden Lion. He was welcomed to the district by Henry Piers, Vicar of St Mary's (Bexley), who was a supporter of the new evangelical movement which was to become later known as the Methodist Church. Over 300 gathered to hear Whitfield preach from his horse: travellers, labourers, gypsies and villagers from Bexley village.
3. One of the early inhabitants of Bexlyheath was the polish emigre …