Posted by: rcottrill | October 4, 2017

Saviour, Teach Me Day by Day

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Jane Elizabeth Leeson (b. Dec. ___, 1808; d. Nov. 18, 1881)
Music: Posen, by Georg Christoph Strattner (b. _____, 1644; d. Apr. 11, 1704)

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

Note: We know little about Jane Leeson except that she wrote many hymns, mostly for children. Apparently she belonged to an eccentric sect of the time called the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church. Its leaders, twelve in number, called themselves apostles. (The sect died out shortly after the death of the last of its self-designated apostles.) They taught the revival of the apostolic gift of prophecy, and Miss Leeson herself believed some of her hymns were prophetic utterances. One observer described the coming of a hymn by claimed prophetic revelation, in process, as follows:

“[The hymn] was delivered slowly, and with short pauses between the verses, a pause three times as long as anyone would ordinarily make in reading.”

There have been many great love stories in history, and many inspiring ones described in fiction as well. Times when earnest and devoted love is answered by the equally passionate devotion of another, love echoing love.

Napoleon and Josephine, the poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning, Queen Victoria and her Albert, scientists Pierre and Marie Curie, those are just a few examples. And we could include the biblical account of Jacob’s love for Rachel. He worked for his Uncle Laban to gain the right to take her as his bride, and the Bible says, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Gen. 29:20).

But by infinite measure the greatest love story enfolding both time and eternity is God’s love for us fallen sinners, creatures of His own making. The best known gospel text in all the Bible says it. “God so loved the world” of lost mankind that He sent His own Son to pay our debt of sin on the cross (Jn. 3:16).

We all are described in God’s Word as sinners (Rom. 3:23; 5:8), and enemies of God (Rom. 5:10), but the Lord loved us in spite of this. And before the world began, He planned that salvation would be provided for, even knowing the terrible sacrifice that would be necessary. By faith, we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ…foreordained before the foundation of the world” (I Pet. 1:18-20; cf. Rev. 13:8).

Concerning the believer’s response to all this, we have a notable text in the first epistle of John: “We love Him because He first loved us” (I Jn. 4:19). There are profound depths in that simple statement.

First, we are transformed through what God does for us, so that we are empowered to love God back, and love others too, with a divinely energized love. Through faith in Christ, we are able to love in a new way and to a new degree “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

Further, we are given a new motivation to love. This is particularly so with respect to our response to our loving God Himself. Through Calvary, we are “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17), and love answers love. Not surprisingly, our hymn writers have taken up this theme.

At the time of his conversion, sixteen-year-old William Ralph Featherstone (1846-1873), of Montreal, gave us the hymn My Jesus, I Love Thee. One stanza says:

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Another hymn makes the message of First John 4:19 a kind of refrain at the end of every stanza. It was written by English author Jane Leeson. And even though we might disagree with some of her group’s teachings, Miss Leeson’s simple hymn has merit.

CH-1) Saviour, teach me day by day
Love’s sweet lesson to obey,
Sweeter lesson cannot be,
Loving Him who first loved me.

CH-3) Teach me thus Thy steps to trace,
Strong to follow in Thy grace,
Learning how to love from Thee,
Loving Him who first loved me.

CH-4) Love in loving finds employ,
In obedience all her joy;
Ever new that joy will be,
Loving Him who first loved me.

Questions:
1) What are some things we learn about love from the Lord Jesus?

2) What can we give to the Saviour to show how much we love Him?

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


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