Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ancient Truth, A Modern Hymn: The Power of the Cross

It's easy to forget that what we now consider classic hymns of the faith were once new. If you'll permit my use of some Arian phraseology, there was a time when "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and (my personal favorite) "And Can It Be" were not. The remedy to weightless worship music isn't simply singing songs from the past (though I'm certainly opposed to doing away with them) but creating new ones that herald biblical truth with fidelity and beauty.

Yesterday, Al Mohler pointed to "The Power of the Cross" by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend as reason to be optimistic that we are "entering a great new era of hymnody." In his account of the song's genesis, Keith Getty says:
Over the past couple of years, we have been working through the Apostles Creed and writing hymns teaching the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.
The Creed teaches that ‘He suffered under Pontius Pilate’, and in communion we are commanded to ‘remember his death ‘til he comes’. In the New Testament, Paul and the Apostles often preached and prayed in more detailed and visual ways about the cross, turning all of our senses to Christ’s sufferings and their significance.
Stuart and I considered how the reality of His sufferings should penetrate our worship services and were challenged by the need to explain the overwhelming significance and implications these have for our lives. In our congregational worship the sufferings of Christ have often only been given a surface glance and it is hardly surprising that the theological meaning often remains confused:
‘This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame,
bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross.’
Our hope is that the hymn; "The Power of the Cross" will be a resource to the church as a declaration of what we believe; a challenging reflection on Christ’s sufferings and a powerful song for Easter or Communion services.  It is also our hope that people will be challenged again by the wonder and the power of the cross.
You can listen to this glorious hymn in its entirety here (click on "Listen online now").

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