Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Happy Song That Makes Me Sad

"Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped.
Revelation 5:9-14
Verse 1
Let the children sing a song of liberation
The God of our salvation set us free
Death, where is thy sting? The curse of sin is broken
The empty tomb stands open, come and see

He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive! Praise and glory to the Lamb.
He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive forever. Amen

Verse 2
Let my heart sing out, for Christ, the One and only
So powerful and holy rescued me
Death won't hurt me now because He has redeemed me
No grave will ever keep me from my King

I'm alive, alive, alive, hallelujah!
Alive! praise and glory to the Lamb.
He's alive, alive, alive. Hallelujah!
Alive forever. Amen

Worthy is the Lamb, worthy of our praise
Worthy is the One who has overcome the grave
Let the people dance, let the people sing
Worthy is the mighty King.

Alive, Forever, Amen by Travis Cottrell
If you've never heard this song, you can listen to it in the previous post (second youtube video). I heard this song for the first time two years ago when I first started attending my current church. It was the last song we sang at our outdoor Easter service. I remember that even though I had never heard it before, my joy in singing it that first time reached higher than it did for most other songs that I sing. Today we sang that song as a corporate body for only the third time since I've been at West Hills. We only sing it once a year. It's always the last song we sing on resurrection Sunday.

As we came to the end of this song that first time I sang it three years ago, I just wanted to keep on singing. I didn't want to stop. A happy song isn't supposed to make you sad. It's supposed to make you happy. So why does this song make me sad? Because I don't want to stop singing it. And each year the song always comes to an end.

This morning as we closed our resurrection celebration service, I gained some insight into why this song makes me sad. Overwhelmed with joy and vocal chords wearied, I paused for a moment and just watched the choir on stage that was singing, almost all of them displaying clear expressions of joy. And as I looked at them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to open my Bible to Revleation 5. As the singing continued, I read verses 9-12 and it hit me: These words that we are singing aren't just our grateful response to Jesus for His death and resurrection for us. More than that, these words, this very song, is the reason why He went to the cross. He died in order to hear this song. This song is the whole point. I was created by the Word who became flesh, purchased by the blood of the Lamb, justified with the righteousness of Christ, and am being sanctified by His Spirit so that I will sing this song forever. This song is my reason for being that will be realized when I one day am present before the throne of the Lamb.

But as I sing today, I know that the song will come to an end and we will all go home and go on with the rest of our day. Will we forget about the song? I don't want to forget about the song. And yet I know that if I stop singing, part of me will forget as I get bogged down with the affairs of this world, losing sight of what an infinitely glorious reality it is that the Lamb was slain ... for me. And that's why I don't want to stop singing. That's why it makes me sad to stop.

As much joy that I feel singing this song with a gathering of hundreds of men and women in Morgan Hill, this is nothing compared to the myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands from every tribe and language and people and nation who will one day sing this song. This is the smallest foretaste of what it will sound and feel like on that great day. So as this resurrection Sunday comes to an end, my heart longs not just to keep singing that song, but to hear more men and women who look nothing like me and speak nothing like me singing that song. And my greatest hope is in knowing that on that day the song won't end.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your passion. And thank You that You designed a universe in which praise isn't just the expression of our joy but is the consummation of it. When we stop singing, our joy decreases. And oh, how we long for our joy to be made complete! So give us the grace to labor faithfully to finish Your Great Commission so that we might hasten Your coming, if we don't go home to be with You first. And grant us the grace to live each day as resurrection Sunday in the wonder of Your gospel. In Your great name, Amen.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Happy Easter, Chris! He is Risen!

We, the worship team at our church, sang this song yesterday as special music. It made me cry as it always does. This post is very meaningful to me. I'll be back to read it again soon, when I can spend more time meditating on it.

God richly bless you and yours!