Glory Be To God On High

I remember singing this ancient hymn of praise regularly in church while growing up. I knew that it was part of the traditional liturgy and old enough to have a Latin name (“Gloria in Excelsis Deo”), but I had no idea how ancient these words were. According to the article on it in Wikipedia.org, one form of the song dates back to at least the third century, if not to the first. I was singing words that had been said or sung by Christians practically since the church began! What an incredible thought!

Originally in Greek, then translated into Latin, this version is from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It’s a wonderful example of praise, in any language.

Glory be to God on high,
and on earth peace, good will towards men.

We praise thee, we bless thee,
we worship thee,
we glorify thee,
we give thanks to thee for thy great glory,
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ;
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy;
thou only art the Lord;
thou only, O Christ,
with the Holy Ghost,
art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

– ancient doxology

Need of Jesus

I recently found a wonderful book called The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. I love the prayers in it because they express passionate devotion to God, honest confessions of failure and need, and deep dependence on God’s grace. Unfortunately, even though the editor lists sources (John Bunyan, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, Isaac Watts, Richard Baxter, and others), he doesn’t note which prayer comes from which source, so the author of the following prayer will have to remain anonymous.

Lord Jesus,
I am blind, be thou my light,
    ignorant, be thou my wisdom
    self-willed, be thou my mind.
Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit's voice,
    and delightfully run after is beckoning hand;
Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
    make it alive to evil's slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
    and there cease to tremble at all alarms.
Be my good shepherd to lead me into the green pastures of thy word,
    and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.
Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
    may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.
Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
    but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.
I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
    but thy cross has brought me near,
        has softened my heart,
        has made me thy Father's child,
        has admitted me to thy family,
        has made me joint-heir with thyself.
O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
    that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
    that I may reflect the image of heaven's first-born.
May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
    and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
    for unless he move mightily in me
    no inward fire will be kindled.

– Puritan prayer, from The Valley of Vision.

Arise, My Soul, Arise

This hymn by Charles Wesley is one I don’t remember ever hearing until Twila Paris set it to a new tune and recorded it on her 1991 album Sanctuary. (It had been unfamiliar to her, too, according to the liner notes.) I was immediately moved to worship by the powerful images that speak of what Christ’s death accomplished for me.

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Church Plant Opportunity

Some friends of mine in Keynote asked me back in February if I’d play flute sometime with their worship team. Their church, Pathway Church, had only started public services in October and still had lots of needs. I thought it would be really fun to play with my friends (they are both good musicians), and since their services are on Saturdays, it wouldn’t conflict with services at Hope Church, where I’m a member. Plus, Hope is all about helping church plants! So I said yes.

As I’ve helped at Pathway, the church has captured my heart, and I really want to help them get established. Like all church plants, there are lots of opportunities to serve, and it seems my gifts are a good match for what God wants to do there. When I told my pastor at Hope about this, he met with Pathway’s pastor to explore other ways Hope can help Pathway get established!

I’d appreciate your prayers, both for me and for Pathway. Thanks, friends!

Staff Conference Highlights

Thank you for your gifts and prayers for my participation in the Campus Crusade for Christ U.S. Staff Conference! Here are a few highlights:

  • We heard great talks from Walk Thru the Bible’s Chip Ingram, Campus Crusade President Steve Douglass, and others.
  • The staff women were treated to a day with Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Sheila Walsh and Luci Swindoll from the Women of Faith conference.
  • Staff were given a Discover God Study Bible, which has notes from the teachings of Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright.
  • I was very proud of my fellow Keynote staff, who led worship for the conference and helped with behind-the-scenes jobs (I helped run worship lyrics).

Thank you so much for your partnership in ministry!

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