April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

I don't come from a religious tradition that is not known for being particularly demonstrative in our worship. Growing up, the closest we ever came to charismatic worship was a hearty "Amen!"

We don't (at least most of us don't) raise our hands above our waists when we sing - not that there's anything wrong with that as Seinfeld and his friends would say.

We don't dance in the aisles, although a few of us do occasionally sway to the music in our pews, provided it has a beat you could dance to if so inclined -- as long as you don't dance like Elaine Benes.

We sure as heck don't fall down in worship...although there are times when I find myself fighting the urge to do just that. The only thing that keeps me from actually doing it is the realization that people around me would assume it was a medical emergency of some sort.

The urge to fall to my knees in worship is particularly strong leading up to Easter, when I am overwhelmed by Christ's love for us.

It can be the simple words of My Jesus, I Love Thee...

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
and purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

Or the familiar poetry of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross...

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Or the haunting melody of In Christ Alone...

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty 
(c) 2002

These are the songs that remind me of the majesty, the glory, and the amazing grace of a Christ who loves each of us so much that He chose to live and walk among us, taking on flesh, "fullness of God in helpless babe, this gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save."

These are the songs that transport me to Gethsemane...and to Calvary...and to the empty tomb.

Sunday's coming...

Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


  1. Beautifully written... and yes, Sunday is coming! Thanks for the post-


  2. In Christ Alone is one of my all-time favorites. I get chills just reading it.

  3. Thanks, Eric!

    Katie - I love the way In Christ Alone seems to transcend time. You can imagine the early church singing it.

  4. The real meaning of Easter so beautifully expressed in these lyrics. Thanks for posting.

  5. when we are in church, hans is reading his
    bible during the worship, but i am reading
    the hymnal during the preaching. :)

    i get so much out of the great hymns.

    a lovely, moving post, margaret!

  6. How funny! I'm guessing Hans doesn't raise his hands above his waist in worship either, then.

    I'm going to try to remember to watch the replay of your service Sunday morning so I can hear your solo. =)