"Redeeming love has been my theme."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Monday morning, when I flipped my calendar over to the new week, I saw these words:

"Granddaddy's birthday!"

I had penned his birthday into my calendar months ago, before my Granddaddy went to be with Jesus in January. It was a stark reminder of the brevity of our life here on earth. None of us knew he'd be gone so soon.

I thought about him all day on Monday, and I even remembered the year before when Shawn and I had called him on his birthday. He was excited that we'd remembered, and told us a string of his latest jokes (his trademark) as we chatted and laughed. You'd never know that his prognosis at that point was so grim, as he continually chose joy despite his situation.

So even though I remember Granddaddy's last days vividly, they're hardly what my mind goes to when I think about him. I think about the rich, beautiful legacy he left for his family. For me. One of my favorite parts of that legacy was his love for the hymns.

Growing up, my sister and I travelled quite a bit with my parents from church to church, and often one of the first things we'd do when we arrived to a new church was to run to the nearest pew, flip open a hymnal, and try to find Granddaddy's name in the index of authors. He had written a hymn that even today is published in hymnals, and it always made us swell with pride when we found his name.

We grew up learning a singing countless hymns, and it was always a source of pride when we could sing through all four verses without glancing down at the hymnal. :)

Today, though, those words have become so much deeper. I can scarcely sing an entire hymn without tears in my eyes as I think about the words I'm singing. When I've had a rough day, they bring solace and encouragement. When I'm alone in the car or the shower, they're what I revert to singing. It's not that worship songs today have less meaning, but the richness of songs that have been sung for literally hundreds of years by countless believers are so powerful. The stories behind those who wrote them are equally astounding. Take this one, for example.

One that's been a favorite of mine in recent months has been, "There Is A Fountain."It's all about the Gospel - that the spilling of Christ's blood is enough to make us clean, whole, free.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

There are six verses, and the fourth one has to be my favorite:
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

If it means so much to me now after just 18 years of following Christ, how much more will those words of truth mean to me after ten, twenty, thirty more years of knowing Jesus?

I know these words were so precious to my Granddaddy. I saw the tears in his eyes as he sang them and the peace that enveloped his countenance. I heard him sing them loud and strong, just days before his death.

What a legacy.
What grace.


  1. I love hymns too. Like you said, the words are so rich and the stories behind them are incredible. I never get tired of hearing/singing them! Thanks for sharing! By the way, I'd love to know which hymn your grandfather wrote... :)

  2. This is random, but I knew an MBI student who no longer follows Christ that tattooed that line on across her collar bone. Can't say I like the tattoo, but if I were to ever tattoo something on my body, that line is a beautiful one. "Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die."


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