Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Favorite New Hymn?

One of my favorite new hymns is the incredibly, theologically-complete creation of Keith Getty (pictured here with his wife) and Stuart Townend entitled, "In Christ Alone".

Here is what Keith Getty has to say about how the song was written and one of their favorite responses to the song.

Of all the hymns we have written, this hymn is the most popular wherever we go. Ironically, it is the first hymn we ever penned together

I had a strong very Irish melody that I could imagine a large crowd singing. I wanted it to become a hymn that would declare the whole life of Christ and what it meant. Something that could teach people the foundations of what we believed in Christ – the God who changed all of history and who wants a relationship with each us.

Stuart penned a quite incredible lyric, which the two of us edited, developed and rewrote for a couple of weeks until it became "In Christ Alone".

As well as being a credal song, it fires people with hope – that here is the God who even death cannot hold – "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me".

One particularly moving story was a letter we received from a soldier at war:

"I wanted to share a song that has been a real inspiration to me. It is a new hymn written, I believe, a year or two ago but it has the feel of the traditional hymns. I have listened to it almost every night and even tend to sing/reflect on its words on my trips across... It has been an inspiration to me because in each of it verses it reminds me of fundamental principles.

It moves immediately to Christ's burden for those who scorned him. Boy, can I relate. We are losing soldiers here everyday to people that we are trying to help. To know that Christ purposefully gave his life for us helps me to understand that he knows that soldiers are dying and that he is in control.

Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live

No matter how many times I hear that verse, I get chills up my spine. The picture of Christ standing in victory, the image of sin's grip being broken and the promise that I am his and knowing that he in fact is mine brings him incredibly close to me.

As I drive down the highway with my M-16 pointed out the window and my 9MM pistol tucked in my flak jacket pocket. I can tell you that I feel more secure in claiming the promise "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand till he returns or calls me home" than I do with that rifle and pistol."