10:35 PM

2 Hymns Today

yesterday i went to visit rts charlotte, then came back to dinner with em and laura before finishing a paper and reading 75 pages and writing questions on the 75 pages for class discussion and then get up this morning early to go read my paper to my professor, go to class, eat lunch, go to class again, and then run home to pack and order things before leaving for charleston, which is where i am now with kate and mom. i'm utterly exhausted.

i loved rts charlotte though.

Thy Mercy, My God
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue.
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
hath won my affection and bound my soul fast.

without Thy sweet mercy i could not live here -
sin would reduce me to utter despair;
but through Thy free goodness my spirits revive,
and He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
which wonders to feel its own hardness depart.
dissolved by Thy goodness, i fall to the ground,
and weep to the praise of the mercy i've found.

great Father of mercies, Thy goodness i own,
and the covenant love of Thy crucified Son.
all praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine.
there's a heap of stuff here. i think i will focus just on the last line of the second stanza: "He that first made me still keeps me alive." there are two levels of this: the obvious, breathing, blood pumping meaning and the spiritual, preservation of the saints meaning. in both cases, God creates and then sustains. He starts and He finishes and He does everything in between.
O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing!
o, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise,
the glorious of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace.

"Jesus," the Name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease -
tis music in the sinner's ears, tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and listening to His voice, new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice; the humble poor believe.

hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind - behold your Savior come; and weep, ye lame, for joy.

my gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy Name.
skip ryan tells the story of when queen elizabeth ii came to uva while he was pastoring trinity pres up there. he said she packed more charisma and "presence" than anyone he'd ever seen. she walked down a path toward the rotunda, and everyone just stood there in silent awe. when she got to the front, she turned around and gave one big wave. in unison, the whole crowd gave a big wave back. they were utterly transfixed. but the thing is that while QE2 is certainly still able to hold our attention, even transfix us, any claim she had to ruling us is ancient history. that's like sin. to put it in the terms of the hymn, justification means sin doesn't count against us in the courtroom; sanctification means sin's hold on us is being diminished. the agent in both activities is God.

thank goodness it's not up to us.