Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Come, peasant, king to own him. The King of kings salvation brings. Let loving hearts enthrone him."

Rubens - "Adoration of the Magi"

Carol: “What Child Is This?” – William C. Dix (1827-1898)

This hymnline from a familiar carol does three things:
    1. It calls everyone from every social strata to believe that “this, this is Christ the King.”
    2. It tells us that THIS King comes bearing salvation from the throne of his Father.
    3. It inspires all people whose hearts are capable of loving to make a place in their hearts for the King to sit enthroned – in control.

I’d like to do that as we celebrate Epiphany (the arrival of the Magi). I would call everybody everywhere to forget about their ‘place’ in this world’s societal hierarchy to come to Jesus… to take ownership of their place in the Kingdom. I’d like to remind them that this salvation is brought to them as a free gift from the hand of Almighty God through the pierced hands of his Redeeming Son. Then I would encourage them to invite Christ into their heart as controller of their thoughts and actions; I might even go off-season here with another hymn text: “If you are tired of the load of your sin, let Jesus come into your heart.”

I’ve never cared for canned evangelistic presentations: those ‘plan of salvation’ gimmicks. But in this case, these three sentences from a Christmas carol give us an outline for leading people into the Kingdom… moving them from darkness to light, from death to life.

Hear violin solo on this tune by Lindsey Stirling

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"And run not before him."

Hymn: “Take Time to Be Holy” – William D. Longstaff (1822-1894)

For some of us, this hymnline could be an addendum to whatever else we may have resolved to do in the new year.

The truth is that some of our spiritual resolutions are more filled with hope than determination. If we look closely, we may find that embedded within them is our intention to move ahead no matter what – in other words, we may have already set out to run ahead of God!

God wants to lead us, and leadership always happens from the front or from the side. Urging and prodding happen from the back. Strength and empowerment come from beneath.

There have been times I have run ahead of God, realized what I’ve done, and waited for him to come and push me on ahead. Fortunately, he has come to my rescue many times when I’ve plodded on at my own pace and with my own dreams. It is certainly providential that he should be there for us, coming alongside, and ultimately moving to his proper place in the relationship: as Leader.

Some surge of excitement or creativity may overwhelm us, especially in these first weeks of a new year. We may consider ourselves ‘led’ into some realm into which there has been no leadership – no calling – no “Come, follow me.”

Let’s take that selfless approach and not try so hard to be in charge. Let’s play Follow-the-Leader and see where that takes us. When this time of year rolls around in twelve months, I think we might find ourselves further ahead than feel right now.

Hear an Instrumental of This Hymn

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)