We arrive at church every Sunday morning with certain expectations. We expect to participate. We expect to sing. We expect a sermon. We expect to offer ourselves in corporate worship. And, if we have properly prepared, we expect that God will be pleased with our offering. There are, however, many obstacles before us, attempting to prevent us from offering an acceptable sacrifice. Charles Spurgeon spoke of these obstacles, stating that God rules over those things, also.
I’m sure that many of you are familiar with Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotionals. For those who are not, Spurgeon wrote this devotional book containing daily devotions, one for the morning and another for the evening, to be an encouragement throughout the year.
The entry for the 12th of August begins with this quote from the Psalms:
“The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.”— Psalm 97:1
He then continues:
“Causes for disquietude there are none so long as this blessed sentence is true. On earth the Lord’s power as readily controls the rage of the wicked as the rage of the sea; his love as easily refreshes the poor with mercy as the earth with showers. Majesty gleams in flashes of fire amid the tempest’s horrors, and the glory of the Lord is seen in its grandeur in the fall of empires, and the crash of thrones. In all our conflicts and tribulations, we may behold the hand of the divine King.”
Then he quotes this hymn:
“God is God; he sees and hears
All our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, ’mid thy pains,
God o’er all for ever reigns.”
He goes on to quote this hymn two more times. The hymn referred to is a 17th century German hymn which was translated to English in the mid 1800s by Catherine Winkworth, and is part of a collection of hymns called Lyra Germanica. Being struck by the words, and how they applied to the sermon for today, I set out over the internet to see if I could find any reference to a melody in order for us to sing it.
Well, I was unsuccessful. So barring that, I determined to approach the problem as would our forbears and find a melody we all know that would fit the word of this hymn. In the days of the great hymn writers (Watts, Wesley, etc) the church had but just a few melodies, and they were all set to memory. When a new hymn was written, they would simply attach the new words to a melody which matched its meter. So, I set out to do the same.
After considering many options, I settled on “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”, which fits very well. So this morning we will sing these words taken from this old German hymn, set to the tune of Christ The Lord – complete with the Alleluia’s.