I've always found it odd that some in churches speak of the hymns as though they were all divinely inspired, worthy of canon, and timeless. As a collector of old vintage hymnals I can assure you there are some real duds out there.
This particular hymn was written in 1836, then brought back to life by Matthew Smith of Indelible Grace in 2006. I've played it for the last decade and it's traveled well. The theologian in me loves the depth, while the musician in me loves the feathers it ruffles when people realize it's loaded with claims about God's sovereignty. I've had many a post-service conversation, thankfully mostly with curious and open-minded folks who want to understand the tension between God's rule and our responsibility. I usually respond by saying that they are both true, and none of us fully understand where the two meet. Of course I have more thoughts on the matte than that, and some think that's lazy for a pastor to frame the topic that way. I think it's arrogant to say much more.
The truth is that most people who have ever posed a theological question of me are most often trying to wrestle through something at a heart level with a head approach. Theology engages both to be sure, but "why did my Mom die of cancer" is a much more honest question than "is God really the one who loves us first?" A large part of pastoring people means listening for the question behind the question. That goes for our own hearts and thoughts too.
Published by: Donald in Uncategorized
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