Last week I talked about one of my favorite hymns…Amazing Grace…and the fact I have a playlist with several versions of this one hymn. Well seems like I’ll be sharing a bit more about my musical tastes this week…about one of my favorites that I have NO playlists for, nor do I have a copy of it anywhere in my musical libraries.
How Great Thou Art…not sure I can sing that one without tearing up…and this past Sunday was no exception. The words of the hymn are compelling enough on their own…but this one has special meaning for me as well. This was a song I heard my dad sing as I was growing up…he had a powerful voice and frequently (as in a few times a month) sang “the special music” for the service. How Great Thou Art was on high rotation…the power of the song and the passion with which my dad sang it seared the glory of worship into my being. This past Sunday with my son-in-law leading worship and my daughter harmonizing with him as part of the praise team…the same power and the same sense of worship overtook me (as it does each time we sing the song).
The scripture focus for the morning…Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
Good stuff. The legacy God has built on…that great cloud of witnesses who endured.
I was thinking about how the good ol’ hymn impacted me…how there was history with my dad and a present with my kids (in-law is still “my” kid). When it dawned on me, the cloud of witnesses, the author of Hebrews wrote about…it isn’t limited to those heroes of the faith listed in chapter eleven. We have a cloud of witnesses that is growing (at least it should be) as we walk with Christ. My dad and his spiritual leadership and example, the joy of watching my kids follow Him – leading others in worship, working with the youth. Teachers from when I was younger…all the way through to being an old fart. Mentors, leaders, those I served alongside of, those I taught – who God used to teach me more…so many witnesses making up “my cloud”.
I’ve said before we’re discipling at all times…some people gave me examples of what not to do…most though were positive examples…many don’t even know they influenced me. Enduring through “painful times”, rejoicing always, sharing the love and joy of Jesus. Quite a cloudbank.
Through it all…they showed me how to look to Jesus…the author and finisher of our faith. He who saw the joy in suffering for my sake. The cloud billows around me…parting and allowing me to see Him at the center of it all. And when I see Him there…Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!