Speaking on the matter of Christian freedom John Calvin said, “This is a slippery place, and there is great danger of falling on either side.”1 Too true! Christians face the duel temptation of excessive rule-making and inappropriate freedom-flaunting when it comes to matters that the Bible doesn’t explicitly address. Of course, neither is a biblical solution. Neither option promotes the freely-rendered, loving obedience for which the cross of Christ aims. For believers to flourish—especially those with differing convictions within the same congregation—there has to be a better way.

 

The Lord Jesus also knew the deep sorrow of parting from His beloved family and flock on this earth. Time and again, He cautioned them that he had to “go away” (John 16:7). This was not easy for them; but neither was it easy for him.

 

Martin Luther, the great Reformer, said, “A Christian is free and independent in every respect, a bondservant to none.” In the very next sentence he stated, “A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect, owing a duty to everyone.” The Christian needs this reminder daily. The beauty of the gospel delights our minds and sustains our souls; and it also provides drive, energy, and vision for the will. As it affects our persons, it informs our actions. Never underestimate the power of the gospel to claim lives from death and give them purpose in the present.

 

The suffering that we endure in this life is not in spite of God's love, but because of it. It is not out of God’s control, but firmly part of His plan. He is giving us all that we need, rather than giving us what we desire in order that we might see our Savior in all His glorious rage, vanquishing our enemies one by one, even death itself. May God grant us grace to see the “the Glory of God,"  in order that "the Son of God may be glorified” in and through our sufferings.

 

There has been a recent series of posts, blogs, and articles about the use of hymnals, the loss of hymnals, what we gain with screens, what we lose with screens, etc. Behind these posts is an assumption that whether it is printed or pixelated on a screen denotes two different types of music. As such, this becomes more a discussion of style. However, at the heart of the matter is what is the purpose of singing in worship and how does that influence what we sing.