When I started my first post-college job as worship director at a church (14 years ago), they were using some hymns and some newer "choruses". It bothered me that the language in the lyrics of the hymns was so antiquated that maybe the younger generations might not even know (or care) what it all meant, and maybe the older generations had sung them so long, they may be complacent as to the meaning, but just enjoyed the song for nostalgia. So I occasionally published an insert for the bulletin called "Know What You Are Singing". I would put into my own words what the lyrics meant. One time I did a mini research project on what "bulwark" meant and wrote that up for "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". After service that Sunday, a WWII veteran came up to me and explained what a bulwark was even better than what I had explained on paper. (At least then I knew someone was reading my inserts!)
So it was funny when this song from years ago came to mind as I started this morning's laundry. It occurred to me that I really only remembered the first verse and the chorus. It also occurred to me how archaic and somewhat funny-sounding the lyrics are. So once the laundry was sorted and started, I looked it up in my hymnal to review the other verses. Then I wrote them down and studied their meaning. Finally I came up with this prose rendition. I think it is a great way to think about how a song expresses meaningful thoughts and feelings about my relationship with God and what He has done for me. Maybe someday I'll have time and creativity and put this back into poetic form and write a modernized version of this hymn.
Can anyone guess which hymn this is? I really don't think anyone, except maybe my parents, can get this one!
I've decided not to waste my time chasing after satisfaction and happiness through the pursuits this world has to offer. Instead, I see clearly that what God offers to me now, and for eternity, brings true fulfillment and joy, and they are things of a higher and nobler quality.
Because of Jesus' free gift of forgiveness-- that beautiful saving grace, I am full of gladness and true freedom, so I run to Him, the greatest and highest One there is.
I've decided to turn my life around-- away from loving sin and being defeated by a life of worry. I now fix my eyes on Jesus--the true One, the just One, the One who has the words of life.
I've decided to follow my Savior, being as faithful and true to Him as I can, every day. I'll pay attention to what He says, and do what He wants me to do. This is the way of life.
I've decided to accept God's generous invitation into His Kingdom by leaving behind the paths of sin. My friends may oppose me, and my enemies may attack me, but I will still be given the rewards of Heaven for choosing Jesus as my Lord.
We'll see what everyone comes up with!