Saturday, 13 February 2010

Some things just haven't been bettered

I was brought up on hymns and metrical psalms, in equal measure (no pun intended). I love many modern worship songs, and seem to be gradually working my way through teaching the Getty & Townend canon to my church. But as I prepare to delight in Jesus with Wolverhampton Uni CU through this passage on Monday evening, I can't think of anything but the hymn below to follow it. And reading it to them just won't be the same as having everyone stand and declare it in song to God and to each other with joy and music. I'd welcome suggestions of worship songs which fulfil the same function as this 1749 hymn of Wesley - bearing in mind that a former Wolverhampton CU leader expressed surprise that I expected him to know a popular worship song written "when he was 12". But unless someone comes up with something really good, I'm very tempted to take to the piano and teach this to them!
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptised?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptised with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practised magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Jesus! the Name high over all,
In hell or earth or sky;
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.

Jesus! the Name to sinners dear,
The Name to sinners giv’n;
It scatters all their guilty fear,
It turns their hell to Heav’n.

Jesus! the prisoner’s fetters breaks,
And bruises Satan’s head;
Power into strengthless souls he speaks,
And life into the dead.

O that the world might taste and see
The riches of His grace!
The arms of love that welcome me
Would all mankind embrace.

Him I shall constantly proclaim,
Though earth and hell oppose;
Bold to confess His glorious Name
Before a world of foes.

His righteousness alone I show,
His saving truth proclaim;
This is my work on earth below,
To cry 'Behold the Lamb!'

Happy, if with my final breath
I may but gasp His Name,
Preach Him to all and cry in death,
'Behold, behold the Lamb!'

- Charles Wesley, 1707-88


Gary said...

That's a great hymn - couldn't be bettered! I'm noticing that a lot of the older ones are making a comeback in evangelical circles - which is all for the good. I would teach the CU that one!

étrangère said...

Thanks for the comment, Gary. It's one of my favourite hymns, but I've remembered that we'll not be in the room with a piano, so not sure it'll happen. Apparently if I can find a decent rendition on youtube, we can do it - but youtube doesn't lend itself to teaching a song, as a proper instrument would! So it'll be resorting to reading it to them, methinks.

Pete said...

What a great hymn! Teach it to 'em sister!