Posts Tagged ‘hymns’

Preparing for Cancer

How does one prepare for cancer?  Specifically, how does a Christian prepare to face the battle of cancer in their life or in that of a close family member?

And I don’t mean, how do you keep from getting cancer.  I’ll leave you to your own devices with that one.  Certainly, I don’t have anything worthwhile to share in that category anyway!

I do not hold ourselves up as paragons of faith, but I do wonder in amazement at how steady we have been through this (It’ll have to be a separate post, but we must remember that faith is more about it’s object – Christ – than our “work of faith”).  Our faith has surprised me at times.  I don’t mean to paint an inaccurate picture.  To be clear this whole thing sucks (to use a technical term), I hate it many days, and the teardrops are too numerous to count at this point.  And yet, there is something more.  Really, there is Someone more.

One answer, in my mind, without a doubt is all of the prayer that we have received and continue to receive.  Friends, family, preschoolers, acquaintances, and strangers lifting us up before the Lord.  Yes, that has much to do with it.  And that’s probably another whole reflection.  Here, I want to think about preparing in the years before trials come, suffering hits, and horrific news knocks us to our knees.  In that sense, this applies more broadly to cancer.

Ready for the answer?  Here it is:  walking faithfully with the Lord day in and day out for years.  In good times and bad.  In plenty and in want.  You get the idea.  As we do that, what happens?   We will have read the Scriptures, we will have heard the Scriptures proclaimed, hymns and songs will root into our bones, and we will watch others deal with the falleness of life.    We will come along side of them when they need prayer, meals, hugs, and encouragement.  We will see the faith of the saints carried out in both the mundane and the tragic.

Trust is something that we learn over the seasons.  We learn that God is trustworthy during the harvest and even during the drought.  For He provides.  Not always what we want or expect, but still this is something that has to be learned over the course of time.  But if we don’t put ourselves in the company of others and we don’t learn those hymns and we don’t hear the Word of Life, then it will be hard for us to trust.  We will have stunted our growth.  Think about it this way.  That hymn that you are singing on Sunday (you know the one that you don’t like the tune of), may not be for today.  You might be learning it for a tomorrow that is going to come and you’ll need to be reminded that “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head” (“God Moves In a Mysterious Way”, William Cowper, 1774).  You’ll need to have treasured up already the Words of Scripture that alone give life and lead us.  You’ll need to have put in some time already listening to the pastor drone on just a little too long once again.  It may not seem like much is happening right now, but I can assure you that the cumulative effect of walking with God and His people, can sustain you when you are diagnosed with cancer.

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man

and makes flesh his strength,

whose heart turns away from the Lord.

He is like a shrub in the desert,

and shall not see any good come.

He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,

in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water,

that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

for its leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of drought,

for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

                                                                                (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

 

How can we bear fruit in a drought season?  Only if we have placed our trust in the Lord and have been nourished by Him before that.  That is part of how you prepare for cancer.

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Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)

This is a beautiful hymn written for use with Communion by the Getty/Townend hymn-writing team (“In Christ Alone”).  I am very thankful for this wonderful song and hope it finds much use in the Church of Christ.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.
The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.
The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.
And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King

From the Gettymusic.com

The Communion Hymn is exactly what it says it is -a hymn to be used during the communion part of a service – the opening verse sets the context, preparing us for communion with verse 2 focussing on the bread and verse 3 the wine while verse 4 being the response as we leave.

We took several key themes – we wanted to explain simply what each part of communion is about and so use it as a teaching song, explaining the meaning of the elements. We also wanted to write in a way which appealed to the senses ‘ the visual image of the table of the King, ‘drained deaths cup’ . It also brings in the eternal dimension which we try to do in all of our hymns – where we tei the cup to the theme of judgement and the fact that it is part of our communion experience is to remember his return.”

Hubble Pics

Some pretty amazing pictures here from the upgraded Hubble Telescope.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Remember Me

A song that I have been listening to on a regular basis is Remember Me by Matthew Smith (of Indelible Grace fame).  This song appears on Smith’s solo recond Love Shall Never Die: The Road Sessions Vol. 2.  I could not find the lyrics to this song, but I did find the hymn on which the lyrics (with a few changes) are based.  The hymn is written by Thomas Haweis and STEM Publishing has a biography on him here and his hymn titled Remember Me on the same page.  Here is the hymn:

Remember Me by Thomas Haweis.

O Thou from whom all goodness flows,
I lift my heart to Thee;
In all my sorrows, conflicts, woes,
Dear Lord remember me.

When groaning on my burdened heart
My sins lie heavily,
My pardon speak, new peace impart,
In love ‘Remember me’.

Temptations sore obstruct my way,
To shake my faith in Thee;
O give me strength, Lord, as my day;
For good ‘Remember me’.

Distrest with pain, disease and grief,
This feeble body see;
Grant patience, rest and kind relief,
Hear! and ‘Remember me’.

If on my face for Thy dear Name,
Shame and reproaches be,
All hail, Reproach! and welcome
Shame! If Thou ‘Remember me’.

The hour is near, consigned to death
I own the just decree;
Saviour, with my last parting breath,
I’ll cry, ‘Remember me’.

This is a simple, but profoundly Biblical cry for the Christian.  I used  the theme of remembering in a funeral meditation for a believer who had suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s during her remaining years.  Her memory and ability to cry out in these last days was greatly diminished, but I focused on our gracious Lord who remembers us (Psalm 103, Luke 23:42-43).  In fact, our salvation does not lie so much in the strength of our ability to make this confession, but in the Lord who remembers us, even in our weakness and frailty.

The text of the homily based on the above texts is on the next pages.  I have changed the name of the deceased.

Continue reading

More Hymn Goodness

Here’s another entry into the older hymns, new tunes camp – (a camp I absolutely love and found incredibly valuable to the church). You can download this album for free for a limited time (another thing I absolutely love).  A brief first listen is very positive – the songs have a little bit of an (electric) edge to them – this would be in contrast to Indelible Grace/Red Mountain Church style.

From the website:

Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible and known again.They are some of the richest, most meaningful, and moving pieces of music ever written.

Here are the hymns included on this album:

Come Thou Fount
In Christ Alone (actually a new hymn and one of my favorites; new hymns are also needed in the church)
My Jesus I Love Thee
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Nothing But the Blood
Solid Rock
Joy

(HT: Between Two Worlds)

Help My Unbelief

Help My Unbelief by John Newton (you may of heard of him or at least sung Amazing Grace); Taken from the Gadsby Hymnal – #278. To hear a contemporary version of this hymn and bunch of other great “new” hymns, please visit Red Mountain Music. There is a deep honesty in this hymn that we are often unwilling to admit, but unless we admit our weakness and struggle, we will never be able to call out to our Helper, our Lord. This is one reason these older hymns are so needed and still relevant to the church today.  Update (to correct previous omission):  The order of the lyrics below represent the Red Mountain Music version, with new music written by Clint Wells.

I know the Lord is nigh,
And would but cannot pray,
For Satan meets me when I try,
And frights my soul away,
And frights my soul away.

I would but can’t repent,
Though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can never relent
Till Jesus makes it soft,
Till Jesus makes it soft.

Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
My help must come from Thee.

I would but cannot love,
Though wooed by love divine;
No arguments have power to move
A soul as base as mine.
A soul so base as mine.

I would but cannot rest,
In God’s most holy will;
I know what He appoints is best,
And murmur at it still.
I murmur at it still.

Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief.
My help must come from Thee.