Those Who Know It Best

  I know this Christian stuff really well.  I have been at it practically my whole life. I was coming to church nine months before I was born. Many of the people who read these weekly ramblings are the same way.  You have been singing, listening to preaching, partaking in ordinances, trying to witness your faith to others from time to time, studying the Bible, and engaging in church fellowship over and over again for a long while. Seems like we would all just be bored to tears after years and years of the same old story, the same old song.  The truth is that if we are tired of it, we must not be speaking of the same “it.”  If you really let it sink in yet again, whether for the 40th or the 400,000th time, it is once again an astounding truth beyond compare – beyond anything we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams – that God, the Author of all creation, the giver of everything that is good, would come to dwell among us in the form of a man, Jesus, born of a virgin, crucified that we might be forgiven of our sin, buried and raised again conquering death and hell once and for all, and coming again in a moment we cannot know, yet a moment of which we can be certain and therefore live in brilliant hope of eternal victory.  It is profound beyond description, though history has been spent trying to describe it through the works of the greatest artists, greatest musicians, greatest theologians, greatest writers, and greatest leaders who have ever lived as well as through the most coarse simpletons and through the most meager of means.  The beautiful truth is that the Gospel still captures our imaginations.  The Gospel remains the one truth that still trumps all other axioms of life and living!  It is still to be the constant tone of our worship!  I can still hear Robert Webber’s tone of voice proclaiming it, “Christus Victor!” Christ is triumphant in ultimate victory over all evil!  My heart cries, “Amen!”
As longtime followers of Jesus we can still be surprised by the shekinah glory that may surprise us in the middle of a song, during the reading of God’s Word, as we observe a new baptism, partake of the bread and cup, or just hear a whisper in the still moments of worship.  Then again the Lord may surprise us with an overwhelming sense of His presence in a hospital room, on a morning walk, or playing in the yard with a child. When those surprises occur they become part of our spiritual memory.
Whatever glory moments may occur that thrill our soul, they are rooted in the story.  Illumined by the Holy Spirit we love to hear it, speak it, sing it, and live it.  It is the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The old gospel song says it well:
            I love to tell the story
            For those who know it best
            Seem hungering and thirsting
            To hear it like the rest
            And when in scenes of glory
            I sing a new, new song
            ‘Twill be the old, old story
            That I have loved so long
            I love to tell the story
            ‘Twill be my theme in glory
            To tell the old, old story
            Of Jesus and His love.
          Katherine Hankey
  Lest you think these moments only occur during times of high celebration (a disposition some pastors and worship leaders seem to think is the only point of Spirit visitation), consider the circumstance surrounding the writing of this great gospel song.  In 1866, Katherine Hankey was recovering from a serious illness when she wrote a two part poem of 50 stanzas based on the life of Christ.  Part one, “The Story Wanted,” was dated January 29, 1866, and is the source for the hymn “Tell Me the Old, Old Story.”  The second part, “The Story Told,” was completed on November 18, 1866.  “I Love to Tell the Story” was drawn from this second part.  In her physical suffering she recounted the story of Jesus as one of those who know it best.
Next week our Tennessee Mens Chorale will be singing this great old hymn with Travis Cottrell at our annual meeting of Tennessee Baptists.  We will sing it interwined with a video testimonial presentation of a pastor and church who saw nine people come to Christ as a result of their ongoing telling of the story.  The pastor and those new believers will be physically present as well.  We pray this will be a moment of Spirit presence in our midst and convictional motivation for all of us to faithfully tell the old, old story that is blessed to repeat.
Overwhelmed by His grace,
Explore posts in the same categories: Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leader Relationships, Worship Leaders, Worship Reminders, Worship thoughts

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