Common Tune: DARWALL
Sorry, everybody: I’m back to a Charles Wesley text! I must be hooked on Watts and Wesley more than I realized before I started these posts!
I totally love this hymn. I always enjoy singing it. It never fails to lead me into worship. This kind of sturdy tune undergirding a well-crafted text make for an outstanding coupling. And the recurring refrain can hardly be matched in all hymndom: “Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice! Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice!”
Today’s hymnline which covers the third stanza (the one we often skip over) is the one which always catches my attention and sets my mind and spirit spinning upward. These three thoughts drawn from Matthew 16:18-29 are worth our giving attention to.
“His kingdom cannot fail.” The firm belief that come what may, the Kingdom of God will endure is basic to our theology. It will not only stand, but it will withstand all attacks from within and without. Although it may appear to those of us with earthly-eyes that the church is losing ground and that the battle might be eventually lost, that is out of the question. The Lord who was triumphant over the grave will come out victorious over any and all comers.
“He rules o’er earth and heav’n.” God’s rulership should not be overlooked or downplayed. Unlike the Deists who thought that God created the world then left it to its own devices, most of us believe God is still in control of things on earth and the heavens… yea, even the weather! If nothing else, affirming this role will intensify our prayer lives.
“The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n.” Revelation 1:18 bears out this statement, although we can’t completely comprehend what is meant by this part of John’s vision. For me, it indicates that Christ has the authority to lock or unlock whatever wherever he pleases. Fortunately, he seems to hold off on releasing the powers of death and hell; otherwise, we’d find ourselves in a much greater, disastrous state. Even when we think “all hell has broken loose,” we know that is not possible as long as Jesus holds the key-ring!
In this stanza, we give God his due… and we need to do that more often.
- Hymn Sung by (some of!) the Congregation of First Baptist Huntsville, Alabama
- Hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sing This Hymn