Saturday, March 12, 2016

Victory in Jesus

As I mentioned in the last blog posting, Vachel Lindsay's poem, "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven" is one of my favorites as well as one I have often used in preaching.  My favorite lines come not in the beginning of the poem, but later in the section where Jesus sees what Booth has done and responds to it.
Jesus came from out the court-house door,   
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.   
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there   
Round and round the mighty court-house square.   
Yet in an instant all that blear review   
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.   
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled   
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.   

It creates the kind of images that elicit praise.  As I consider those lines about Jesus transforming that blear review, I think about singing the old gospel song, "Victory in Jesus."  While it is not nearly as old as a Martin Luther or Isaac Watts hymn, it is still considered old by the contemporary church that only sings song that were written yesterday.  Of course, some parts of "Victory in Jesus" do not resonate with a church culture that wants to sanitize the cross and ignore centuries of tradition so that no one is bothered by a reference to the blood of Jesus.  The old gospel song about victory has lines that have us singing, "I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory, how he gave his life on Calvary...I heard about his groaning, his precious blood atoning...O victory in Jesus...He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood..."   The times may be changing, but what has not changed is the saving power of the blood of Christ shed for us on that old cross. 

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