Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Finding Joy Amidst Suffering & Persecution
Henry Lyte understood (rightly) the believer to be a pilgrim in this world—not belonging to the world or the things in it. He also understood that, while we are in the world, we have a mission, a purpose, and a chief end. But, one day, that mission will come to an end. One day, the... Continue Reading
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
This hymn traces the themes of Israel's exodus to the eschatological, or final, exodus that was to begin with the birth of the Messiah.
In the third verse of our hymn, given what appears in the first two verses, Christ’s redemption is cast in terms of the eschatological, or final, exodus. It is no longer the exodus from the tyranny of Pharaoh, nor is it the exodus from Babylon, that appears. Rather, Jesus brings an exodus from the oppressive... Continue Reading
Hark the Herald: Deep Truths Embedded in a Simple Carol
Alluding to John 1, Wesley teaches the incarnation: God became man and lived among humankind.
In these short stanzas, Wesley teaches rich truths about the person of Christ (Christology) and salvation (soteriology). The composition of this hymn follows the inspired guidelines of Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace... Continue Reading
Praise Him, All Creatures Here Below
The Story of Thomas Ken's Doxology
In 1674, Ken published A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College. In it, he gave instructions for the devotional use of a series of his new compositions of Morning and Evening Hymns, including “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun” and “Glory to Thee, My God, this Night.” What we now... Continue Reading
Pastoral Oversight and the Musical Ministry of the Church
Pastors are responsible to keep the lyrical diet of the church biblically faithful.
On a Sunday, the pastors are feeding souls with good songs. They are also responsible for keeping the songs biblically balanced. Does the church sing too many songs about God’s grace and nothing of God’s justice? Or is there too much wrath and no mercy? Are the songs all joy and no lament, or all... Continue Reading
Christmas Songs: Mary’s Song
Mary’s rich and poetic words have echoed through the generations.
As you listen to her words, listen to her words not just as a peasant girl, but a girl growing up under the political oppression of the Roman Empire, a girl whose grandparents and parents longed for the freeing of Israel and for the coming Messiah, the King who would rightfully restore Israel.[viii] Mary’s song... Continue Reading
Come Ye Sinners, Part One
The tune and truth of Hart’s hymn.
Joseph Hart spares no one’s feelings when he surveys the mass of humanity, men and women and boys and girls, and analyzes people in their natural condition apart from Christ. And it is not just that men are merely defective or slightly ill-adapted, or that they just need a little bit of tweaking. No, Hart... Continue Reading
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Carried by the Immense and Active Love of God
The depths of the ocean are a frequent metaphor for the immensity of God. It makes perfect sense when we realize how big the ocean is and how little of it we actually know. Samuel Francis utilized this imagery in picturing the love of Jesus. It was only the greater depths of Jesus’s love that... Continue Reading
O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go
Christian Hope in the Christian's Sorrows
On June 6, 1882, George Matheson sat alone a day before his sister’s wedding and penned “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” Though delighted for his sister, the Scottish minister felt sorrow mixed in with joy before the wedding festivities. At age 20, Matheson lost his eyesight, and his fiancé at the time... Continue Reading
Abide with Me
“Abide with Me” was written by the Scottish Anglican priest Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847). Lyte was a reputed poet and hymnodist.
Lyte preached as a dying man to dying men. He knew that life was but a vapor and that sinful man must make haste to close with Christ. And even as his own life began to fade, Lyte pointed others to the solace that he found in knowing that our unchangeable God abides with all... Continue Reading