This is an exciting week for me. I’m not going to lie. Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters of scripture. Now I wont take the time to get into all the why’s but suffice to say, I’m excited. Im also excited for something we are doing musically, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I really hope you have had a good week, and are excited about the work we get to do together this weekend as we worship our God together, and are formed more into the image of His son.
Crown Him With Many Crowns
I have my own private list of favorite hymns. It’s pretty long, and includes quite a few that the church doesn’t sing. You may not know this, but most of the “hymns” that exist are just poems, no music to them. If you look at the history of church music, thats where we started. People wrote words to be used in worship, and then it was up to the musicians at the individual gathering place to create the tunes to help the people sing. The psalms are a great example of this but so are the works of great hymn writers like Isaac Watts, or our subject this week, Matthew Bridges. Matthew Bridges wrote “Crown Him…” sometime around 1851, which means its really not that old compared to many of our hymns. That doesn’t make it any less impactful however, and that doesn’t mean it isn’t on my list of favorites.
One of the most effective and simple costume changes is to put on a hat. When you walk off stage and return wearing a top hat, you are suddenly a different person. A “man of many hats” is someone who can be a different person in different contexts or crowds. This hymn declares that we are to crown our Lord with many crowns, but this does not mean that Jesus is a “man of many hats.” Christ was not simply a prophet, He was not simply the carpenter’s son, and He was not simply human, nor simply divine. Rather, this call to “crown him with many crowns” is a simple and yet profound declaration that Christ is many things, and everything. He is Lord of all, to be crowned for many things that all add up to Him being Savior of the world. Each crown represents a different aspect of who Christ is – Lord of life, Lord of love, Lord of years, Lord of heaven, the Lamb upon the throne. Christ is King, Servant, Lamb, Shepherd, and we celebrate this all-encompassing, paradoxical nature of our Savior by crowning Him the Lord of all.
This songs has been haunting me for weeks, in a very good way. Here is why, its a new song, that wasn’t written in english. Ill let worship pastor Aaron Keyes from Atlanta explain.
“For a long time, we, in the west, have been exporting worship songs to the rest of the world. From the USA, the UK, and Australia, many great songs have been translated and adapted to serve in other cultures, and this has been beautiful. But times are changing. God is raising up worship pastors everywhere and stirring up songwriters in many of those cultures now, and some of what they are creating abroad is absolutely brilliant, altogether beautiful and acutely refreshing. This isn’t going to be a one-way street anymore.”
Think about the song “O Store Gud”…Oh you don’t know that one? Well you actually do. Its commonly known as “How Great Thou Art” the second most beloved hymn of all time (behind “Amazing Grace” of course. Imagine all the amazing times of worship you have had because of that song, and we would have never had it if it weren’t for someone translating it over to english.
“Crying Holy” is the result of a passion in Aaron’s heart to see us not miss anything God is doing around the world, and he has convinced me that its important. So over the next few months we will talk more about different cultures around the world worshiping in different ways, but this week we will start with this one. Now don’t worry, i’m not going to ask the church to sing in Swedish, but I cant wait to hear us celebrate the goodness of God with words that started in Stockholm, moved to Snellville, and had made it to Columbus.
How He Loves
God is searching for His children. Clearly that phrase is metaphorical, God knows everything so he can’t really search for anything. However, we understand it to be endearing. His love is looking for His children to return to Him, and it is His love that draws us near. The great love of God is a powerful force that gives us the power and confidence to do many things, and His love is evidenced by what He has done and continues to do for us. If you have the time, you should search out the original history of this song from John Mark McMillan.
As we prepare to learn through Luke 15, think about who is lost in your life. Who you can be praying for, and what your heart feels about the lost people around you. I cant wait to gather together and worship with you this week.
To prepare, try praying something like this:
we push you away, but you never let us go.
We turn away from you and even try to run away from you.
But you never let us go.
You seek us out when we are far from you
and draw us back to your waiting arms.
You never let us go.
Hold us tight, almighty God.
Embrace us with your never-ending love.
Never let us go, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
(taken from “The Worship Sourcebook”)