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I have a face for radio, and a singing voice that should only be heard in the shower, with no one else in the house. The hymn “How Great Thou Art,” here sung by Chris Rice, is one of my favorite hymns, as it is for millions of disciples of Jesus, our Risen Lord, and children of the Living God.

When this hymn comes over the speakers of my computer as I work I turn up the volume and sing along with the words, and every single time, just as when in Sunday service and this hymn is sung, I cannot ever get to the end, not even to the middle, without my eyes becoming so swelled in tears that I can read the words. And by the time the hymn moves along to the words;

“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burdens gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin”

I lose my human voice, it becoming inaudible for what is within my heart and soul as I sing within louder than my human voice could ever sing.

And by the time this wondrous hymn moves along to the words;

“When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And then proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art”

While my human voice may be but a whisper from the weight of wonder, awe and thankfulness overcoming me each time, the tears of joy which may be physically watering my eyes making earthly vision blurred always brings a pureness, a clarity within spirit beyond any human words.

Why? Why such emotion, such wondrous things occurring within?

Because I was such a sinner, O, such a sinner and that spotless, blameless, sinless man who was also God, Jesus Christ our Lord gave of Himself, bearing all He did this week we remember, so many weeks ago, now centuries ago, yet He lives! And we who believe in, trust upon, and faithfully serve and obey Him live risen with Him no matter the degree of our sin.

If we confess, if we ask forgiveness, if we believe He, Jesus, was and is the Christ and that He died and conquered death, endured all He did from Good Friday to the tomb being found empty all those years ago…so we might have life, eternal life.

I can’t sing well, but I sing from the spirit of the Living God within my heart aflame. With the human voice measured out to me by God our Father. Not to get a recording contract, but to give Him endless praise and glory.

I can’t sing well according to how the world judges pleasant sounding voices, but I sing to the Lord in His honor, His praise, His glory for caring so much, loving so much, sacrificing so much for a wretched sinner as me, and so many other wretched sinners — that I cannot get through this hymn ever without the tears of sadness turning to tears of joy — so it’s a good thing I memorized the words…

I hope and pray as you are here now? That you crank up the volume on whatever device you are using and sing along with the words of this hymn as Chris Rice sings them, and may the Living, Risen, One True Lord Jesus Christ be aflame in your heart this day, and all the days He blesses you with breath and a beating heart.

And may tears of sadness turn to tears of joy, wonder, reverence and awe that God loved our world, our sin-filled world so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for us, for those who will bow, will hear, will trust, will believe, will serve, will drop our nets and immediately follow the Living, Risen Lord Jesus…

Crank up the volume. Shout the words in song from the heart and spirit to the Lord our God in praise no matter where, no matter what the world may think of the quality of your voice — it is the quality of your heart, your spirit, your soul that matters to the Lord.

 

Ken Pullen

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

ACP — A Crooked Path

 

AUDIO: Chris Rice — “How Great Thou Art”

 

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“How Great Thou Art”

Performed by Chris Rice from the album Peace Like A River: The Hymns Project
by Chris Rice | Genre: Praise & Worship | Release Date: October 25, 2006
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group – Writer: O’HAGAN, EUGENE / O’HAGAN, MARTIN / DELARGY, DAVID / HEDGES, MIKE / SALLY, HERBERT / ISAAK, SALLI / TRADITIONAL

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burdens gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And then proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art”

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

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