Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"To us he'll condescend."

Hymn: “Come, Christians, Join to Sing” – Christian H. Bateman (1813-1889)
Typical Tune: MADRID

This grand hymn calls us all to combine our voices in song. I guess its title could have been tattooed across my forehead for my ministry, because this is exactly what I was calling folks to do – luring them to join the song of the blessed.
British Artist: Ghislaine Howard

As we sing through this text, all the phrases make sense; they’re all praise-y and typical-ish until we get to today’s hymn-line. Condescend? Isn’t that a negative word? Doesn’t that mean that he will talk down to us or treat us with disrespect? In our vernacular, this is a patronizing word – not one I attach to the Savior Christ. “Descend” I would automatically comprehend; but “condescend”? Not so much.

I admit that I always take a momentary time-out while I remind myself that this word (especially at the time of its penning) can also mean to stoop, to lower oneself… or to use an even more archaic word: deign.

“He humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:8) He stooped to wash the feet of his disciples. He bent down and blessed the children along his path. We have plenty of Bible-story snapshots of the holiest-of-all bending to where the lowest-of-the-lowly were.

Recently, I heard Wayne Watson sing these words from one of his greatest hits:

            Jesus, he meets you where you are.
            Jesus, he heals your broken scars.
            All the love you’re longing for,
            All the love you need is
            Jesus, the Friend of the wounded heart.

It’s that kind of sentiment that I must admit when I sing “to us he’ll condescend.” THEN I will not only understand what the word means, I will experience what the word tells me about how Jesus treats me… meeting me where I am, befriending my wounded heart.

Come on, Christians! It’s a hymn-line worth singing!

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Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)