Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cross and Its Shadow

So it's been a while since I wrote anything. I have been extremely busy the last few weeks. This past week I did a week of prayer for the students at Pioneer Junior Academy near Keene, New Hampshire. I had a good time with them, but seeing as I live an hour away from the school, it took about three hours out of every day for me! I'm tired.

On another note, one thing that I have been somewhat challenged by lately is finding something to read that would re-energize my spirits. The Bible, of course, does this, but sometimes it is nice to get another perspective outside of the Bible that really uplifts the Gospel. Ellen White also does this, too, but I do read plenty from her already.

I have found that there are very few authors who have a good understanding of the Gospel. Very few books I read these days really take me to the Cross and produce an appreciation in my heart for Christ's work - both past and present.

Enter Stephen N. Haskell. For those of you who don't know, he is nowhere near a contemporary of ours. He was an early Adventist pioneer who died in 1922. He wrote a classic book called The Cross and Its Shadow, which goes through the whole sanctuary and its services and explains what it all represents. Apparently, I had started reading it sometime in the past - since I have highlighted some things before - but I do not recall any of it.

So I picked it up last week and have been reading through it. Though there are some parts that are not as interesting, I have been extremely blessed by his reflections on the sanctuary and its fulfillment in Christ.

As an added bonus, he starts each section by quoting older hymns that point to the sanctuary service. One of those is especially uplifting, and I have enjoyed it immensely. For some time now, I have been lamenting the fact that I have not written a song in a long time, and seeing as I don't know the tune to this particular hymn, I thought that it would be neat to try to put these words to a tune, thus killing two birds with one stone. Re-doing old hymns seems to be pretty popular these days, anyway.

Well, without further ado, here are the words to the hymn, entitled "The Paschal Lamb" (an appropriate subject this time of year, since Passover is next week) by John Bakewell:
Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid;
By Almighty Love anointed
Thou redemption's price hast paid.
All Thy people are forgiven
Through the virtue of Thy blood;
Opened is the gate of heaven,
Peace is made 'twixt man and God.

Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory!
There forever to abide;
All the heavenly hosts adore Thee,
Seated at Thy Father's side.
There for sinners Thou art pleading;
There thou dost our place prepare,
Ever for us interceding,
Till in glory we appear.

Worship, honor, power, and blessing,
Thou art worthy to receive;
Loudest praises, without ceasing,
Meet it is for us to give;
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;
Help to sing our Savior's merits,
Help to chant Immanuel's praise!
Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but I enjoy the words of hymns so much more than the so-called "Praise Songs" we sing. I know that C. S. Lewis calls hymns "fifth rate poems set to sixth rate music," but, to me, hymns have so much depth to them (and I'm sure that, were he alive today, Lewis would prefer hymns to our shallow praise songs). Maybe that's just because a lot of them use the old King's English, but maybe it's just because they have more depth and don't constantly repeat themselves over and over again.

Anyway, perhaps sometime I'll set these words to music. Tonight would be a good time since I am alone for the evening, as well as the rest of the week since Camille left for Tennessee today. But I'm not really in the mood!!

1 comment:

Rondi said...

I'm totally with you on hymns vs. praise songs. I'd love to hear what you do with this hymn =)