Taking it for granted

One of my favorite lines in hymns comes from the great Scandinavian anthem “How Great Thou Art.”

“And when I think, that God his son not sparing
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,” (Karl Boberg).

I “get” the attraction of the first two verses. Many of us live in urban areas and feel harried and harassed. We long for the times we can gaze at the stars on a clear night, or on a mountainside, the breeze blowing gently and the birds “singing sweetly in the trees.” Continue reading “Taking it for granted”

In five years time

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

It was 1992 and I had just overheard a conversation between a senior saint and a young song leader. The older man declared: “We have eight hundred songs in our hymn book. Why would we need any other songs?”

To which the young man replied: “In five years time we will be singing none of the songs in that hymnbook.”

Here are some of my reactions: Continue reading “In five years time”

John Newton’s other hymn

John Newton (1725-1807) was a preacher, a hymn writer, and at one time a ship’s captain. One of his hymns, entitled “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” is a song of great beauty and biblical truth. One of my favorite lines in it is this:

“Weak is the effort of my heart, and cold my warmest thought,
But when I see thee as thou art, I’ll praise thee as I ought.”

Of course Newton was speaking of the judgment day, but I have always thought that worship grows more deep in proportion to the degree that we see God as he is (Isaiah 6:1-4); conversely shallow worship occurs when we see factors other than God, factors such as the selection of songs, the talent of the preacher and so on. Continue reading “John Newton’s other hymn”