Monday, November 24, 2008

When I Survey The Wonderous Cross

I've been in many different worship settings and pretty much appreciate all of them in one way or another. Last night I was singing to calm my screaming 16 month old who didn't want to go to bed. I chose to sing what I THINK is my favorite hymn/praise/worship song. Every time I make it to the last verse I choke up, wanting so desperately for it to be my truest testimony.

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.

Singing that verse reminds me of the most powerful, sincere worship I've every experienced. Every single time we sung When I Survey The Wondrous Cross at my old church the congregation would just belt out the last verse of this song and I'll (hopefully) never forget the way that sounded--the organ would slow, allowing us to contemplate what we were about to sing and then........voices in sincere worship singing boisterously about a love that is indeed so amazing, so divine that if demands all of us. It gives me chills.

Which reminds me of another amazing experience. Let me give you the setting. Think Presbyterian Session meeting. But don't think too stereotypically. Yes these Elders did meet do discuss business and the direction of the church. Yes, they were business like when necessary. But they know the Word. Around that table were about 30 men who deeply, deeply love and know the Lord. Before every Session meeting the Elders had a time designated to praying for the sick and weary of the church. So, in walked a sick women, about 30. Doctors could not figure out what was wrong but she was literally withering away. So, the Elders began to listen to her story. Then the Teaching Elder (lead pastor) asked that someone read James 5 to explain why they were not only going to pray for this young women, but anoint her with oil. And he took out the oil...but before anyone could open their Bible a voice rose above the Elder who was known for memorizing scripture (like no one I've ever met) began to recite James 5 from memory. As these seemingly stuffy religious men prayed over, layed hands on, and anointed this suffering woman. I sat there stunned, mesmerized (God was there), not because they masterfully manipulated my emotions, but because they were passionately doing what they were supposed to be doing.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

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

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

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.