Posted by: rcottrill | October 5, 2016

By Christ Redeemed

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Words: George Rawson (b. June 5, 1807; d. Mar. 25, 1889)
Music: Shorham, by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1826)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: George Rawson (1807-1889) was a lawyer in England. A shy and retiring man, he was a dedicated Christian, and wrote a number of hymns. Other tunes that might be used with this particular hymn: Almsgiving, by John Dykes; Hanford, by Arthur Sullivan; or In Memoriam, by Frederick Maker.

T he laws against it are clear, and the punishment severe, but kidnapping still occurs. Individuals are abducted and held against their will, sometimes in hopes of monetary gain, other times for political reasons. Maybe both.

In recent years, governments have refused to pay a ransom for the release of those taken by terrorists. When the captives are threatened with cruel death, this stance may seem inhumane and cruel, but the reasoning is that payment will simply motivate more of the same, and will not guarantee the release of the hostages in any event.

Even so, action may be taken. Sometimes there are secret negotiations and an agreement is reached to release captives mutually, on both sides. Occasionally, there is a military operation to rescue those who have been kidnapped. And, yes, sometimes the demanded price of release is paid, though it’s not often publicized.

To be abducted, even when a release is gained later, is a traumatic and hurtful experience, especially when torture or threats of death are involved. The nightmare can leave not only physical injury, but emotional scars that affect the individuals for many years afterward. They require ongoing counseling and support over time, in order to be restored to a normal and productive life.

All of this has its more serious parallel in the spiritual realm. More serious because it’s so extensive in scope, reaching as it does to everyone around the world. And more serious because the power of the abductor is beyond human ability to withstand. He is called Satan, a word which means adversary. The Scriptures don’t treat this evil angel as a cartoon character to be laughed at, but as a powerful and dangerous spirit being who threatens all mankind.

The Bible says, in his malice, he “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). The unsaved are held in spiritual darkness and are under the power of Satan (Acts 26:18). What hope do we have?

Redeemed by the Saviour
We can be redeemed, through faith in Christ. The word “redeem” means to deliver by paying a price. The Lord paid that price upon the cross. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). But God goes further than that.

Restored by the Spirit
Ones delivered from Satan’s bondage need to be mended spiritually. By His indwelling Holy Spirit God begins a restoration process in the one who trusts in the Saviour. The Greek word for it (katartizo) means to restore, repair, complete and equip. In the Bible, it’s also used of fishermen mending their nets in order to restore them to usefulness (Matt. 4:21). The writer of Hebrews prays concerning believers:

“[May God] make you complete [katartizo, restore, and equip you] in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb. 13:20-21).

Remembered by the Saints
All of this is rooted in, and founded upon, what the Lord Jesus did on the cross of Calvary (Col. 1:13-14). And God has given the church a service of remembrance to keep that before us. Called by several names, including the Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, it recalls what He did for us. “Do this in remembrance of Me,” Jesus said (I Cor. 11:23-26).

One of Mr. Rawson’s hymns, published in 1857, tenderly reflects the theme of this article, dealing with redemption and restoration, and praising the Lord for them in the service of remembrance.

CH-1) By Christ redeemed, in Christ restored,
We keep the memory adored,
And show the death of our dear Lord,
Until He come.

CH-2) His body broken in our stead
Is here in this memorial bread,
And so our feeble love is fed
Until He come.

CH-3) The streams of His dread agony,
His life blood shed for us, we see;
The wine shall tell the mystery
Until He come.

CH-5) Until the trump of God be heard,
Until the ancient graves be stirred,
And, with the great commanding word,
The Lord shall come.

Questions:
1) What does this service of remembrance mean to you?

2) What are you dealing with in your own life, in the Spirit’s restoration process?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. Interesting that you chose 2 stanzas that are new to me and omitted the one that has resonated in me the most. I’ve included this other one near the end of this post: https://blcasey.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/a-confessional-communion-meditation/

    The notion of uniting “in one bright chain of loving rite” (from this other stanza) with all those who love the One Who redeemed us is a glorious thought. Personally, I prefer not to refer to the thoughts as a “service,” feeling that that term tends to solidify and ossify rather than bring devotional materials and proceedings to life.

    But to your question, this all moves me to connect with Paul’s admonitions to the Corinthians, and thus, with the gospel records of the Last Supper. Rich, emphatic language is used — and it’s intriguing to study the differences between wordings among the gospels and 1Cor 11. I have been particularly persuaded by what Paul presents as Jesus’ words in the context of the “Body” section of 1Cor. For instance, the pronoun “my” (Body) is emphatic in Greek, and appears to contrast with Corinthian self-centered (too much emphasis on “their” body/bodies!) errors of the time.


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