“And they sang in a mighty chorus: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered — to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing’.” — Revelation 5:12 — New Living Translation,
Christ for the World We Sing
Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring with loving zeal;
the poor and them that mourn, the faint and overborne,
sin-sick and sorrow-worn, whom Christ doth heal.
Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring with fervent prayer;
the wayward and the lost, by restless passions tossed,
redeemed at countless cost, from dark despair.
Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with one accord;
with us the work to share, with us reproach to dare,
with us the cross to bear, for Christ our Lord.
Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with joyful song;
the newborn souls, whose days, reclaimed from error’s ways,
inspired with hope and praise, to Christ belong.
The above hymn is one of more than 200 written by Samuel Wolcott (1813-1869) who was an American missionary to Syria and congregational pastor in northeastern states of the USA. Samuel was educated in Yale and possessed a passion for missions.
Jimmy Gatch, our local church lay leader, and I sang this stirring hymn together in Early Watch last week and ever since it has echoed through my mind and soul. We are fast approaching the end of our Lenten journey with Christ this year and I have experienced a deep longing to know Christ more intimately and to find ways to share Christ more effectively. I think this hymn captures the joy we experience of being in Christ and the burden we carry to share Christ with others. Lord Jesus please show us how to be deeply devoted followers and how to go about making deeply devoted followers of Jesus.
There are four activities Samuel highlights in this hymn that I think are worth mentioning. In the first stanza, he speaks of “loving zeal.” I am reminded of the zeal Jesus had to please the Father. The zeal Jesus had to keep the Temple a House of Prayer. The zeal Jesus had to finish the mission of atoning for our sins.
In the second stanza, Samuel mentions “fervent prayer.” I am reminded of the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. I am reminded of Jesus agonizing about dying for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. I picture Jesus hanging on the cross and praying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
In the third stanza, Samuel expresses the challenge of living in “one accord.” I am reminded of Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman. I see him praying for his followers to become one and he and the Father are one. In my mind’s eye, I see him washing the feet of his friend Judas who was planning to betray him. I remember Jesus healed the Roman centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1-10), forgave the adulterous woman and helped Zacchaeus find God and become righteous. I imagine Peter’s eyes tearing up as Jesus visits him on the beach after his denials and answering Jesus when he asks, “Do you love me?”
In the fourth stanza, Samuel speaks of joyful song. I remember Jesus singing a hymn together with his disciples as they leave the upper room and walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. I picture millions of saints joining their hearts and voices in the heavenly choir singing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.” I look forward to Easter worship this Sunday when our church family will once more pack the sanctuary singing, “Christ the Lord is risen today.”
Reach the Rev. David Player, First United Methodist Church senior pastor, at 580-482-0795 or [email protected]