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Friday, March 29, 2013

I Stand Amazed

I grew up singing songs in church. Lots of songs. Songs in Sunday School. Songs in children's choir. Songs in big church. Songs in youth choir. Songs in adult choir. Songs in the pew. Songs in the praise team. Lots of songs... I can still remember songs from my childhood. I could sing them in my sleep.. 

Unfortunately, I think too often, we are singing them in our sleep. We sing from rote and our minds wander while the words and the notes pour from our mouths. How often do I sing a song on Sunday from start to finish while my mind wanders to what everyone is wearing, or what's for lunch, or... you get the picture.

I love singing. I love the children's songs and the choir anthems and the old hymns and the contemporary praise and worship music. I love it all - I really do. But I think if just every once in awhile we slowed it down enough to really think about the words, we would sing with renewed vigor. Or maybe, we would find ourselves so choked up by what we are singing that the words will no longer come. We would find ourselves truly worshiping instead of just going through the motions.

Tonight was our Good Friday service at my church. We sang one of my favorite 'old hymns'. (I love old and new music, but I believe our children are missing a tremendous amount of theology and history by not learning the old hymns of our faith) 

Just take in the words to this one for a minute:

"I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene..."  Whoa. In the presence of Jesus. Who wouldn't be amazed? More than amazed. Awestruck. Dumbfounded. In Revelation 1:17, John couldn't stand in His presence. He fell down at His feet as though he were dead. Holy reverence. Worship.

"And wonder how He could love me, A sinner condemned unclean." How, indeed? Do you ever wonder?

"He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own..." Are you sorrowful tonight? The God of the universe will take your sorrow and make them His own. He took MY sin and yours and made it His. What kind of God IS this?

"He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone." He took my sin and made it His. He hung it on a cross. His Father couldn't even look at Him. He was more alone than we can even begin to comprehend. Thank you, Jesus! There is not enough gratitude in the world.

From the 1956 Baptist Hymnal
"When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see..." Can you even stand it?!?! To see the face of Jesus...what more could anyone want? Ever? Nothing else even compares. 

"Twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me." Yes it will! Did I mention I love to sing?? Singing through the ages...of what He did for me. Loving me in my sin. Praying for me. Taking my sin. Dying on the cross. Forgiving me. And why can't the ages start now?

So just meditate on those lines for a moment. Really think about them. Turn them around in your head and your heart. How could He love you? How could He love me? It is inconceivable, but He does! And we don't have to wait for eternity to stand in His presence. He is here with us and in us. We can stand in His presence moment by moment, day by day, because He loved us enough to do the necessary work that would reconcile us to Him. Really meditate on that.

NOW, you can sing the chorus:
"How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be;
 How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Saviour's love for me!"  

Yes. It. Is.

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