Riches to Rags

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenward by Thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship Thee.

—Frank Houghton (1894-1972); commonly sung as a carol to the traditional French tune “Quelle est cette odeur agréable?”

Palm Sunday Perspective

It’s the first Palm Sunday, and here comes Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds begin to shout “Hosanna! Hosanna!” The old donkey pricks up his ears. Some in the crowd throw their coats in the road; others spread out palm branches.

“Well!” says the donkey, switching a fly off a mange patch. “I had no idea they really appreciated me like this! Listen to those hosannas, would you. I must really be something!”

Friends, if anybody comes around after the service saying, “Wow! That was terrific!”— they’re not actually saying hosanna to you.

All you did was bring Jesus to them.

—A. W. Tozer (cited by Anne Ortlund, Up with Worship, 169-70)

Peeling Off Our Conceit

“When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I
could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and
wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . I disliked very much
their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate
music. But as I went on I saw the merit of it. I came up against different
people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then
gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which
were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and
benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then
you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your
solitary conceit.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity” in God in the Dock:
Essays on Theology and Ethics
, 61-62

Of Amateurs and Adoration

[recalling the time when he was young, and he and his brother made a disaster out of preparing Mother’s Day breakfast for their mother]

“Even when Christian worship is at its best, it is much like that Mother’s Day breakfast. It is always the work of amateurs, people who do this for love, kids in the kitchen over-cooking the prayers, half-baking the sermons, and crashing and stumbling through the responses on the way to an act of adoration.”

–Thomas C. Long, Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship, vii