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Jesus Paid It All


                   During Lent, we have been singing many hymns about the cross and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for our sin. One of my very favorite hymns about the atonement is Jesus Paid It All, with words written in 1865 by Elvina M. Hall. In his book Then Sings My Soul, Robert J. Morgan writes this about this wonderful hymn’s creation. It was Sunday morning at Monument Street Methodist Church in Baltimore. Rev. George Schrick was droning on in a lengthy prayer while, up in the choir loft, Evina Hall’s mind was wandering. She thumbed quietly through the hymnbook, then began doodling on the flyleaf. By and by, these words came to her, which she scribbled on the front flap of her hymnal: I hear my Savior say Thy strength indeed is small, Thou has naught My debt to pay, Find in Me thy all in all. As a United Methodist pastor, I was immediately struck with two things. One, I can’t help but wonder what constitutes “droning on in a lengthy prayer” and how often am I guilty of it? Secondly, how rich is our denominational heritage with those who have heard God’s voice in unlikely scenarios and then go on to contribute significantly to the Church. Remember John Wesley’s strangely warmed experience when he “went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.”? That is one reason why gathering together for worship is important! Even when we may not be overly excited about the morning’s music or sermon, the very fact that we have put ourselves in the midst of the Body of Christ, positions us to hear God’s voice in very real and transforming ways. It is often in the very ordinary times of obedience that the Holy Spirit breaks forth in powerful ways. It is in those times of feeling small, weak and powerless that we find ourselves drawn to the Lord’s strength. It is in times of defeat and hopelessness that we can claim with confidence that JESUS PAID IT ALL! That is what Holy Week celebrates. That is the victory of Easter! That is why I love the last verse of this hymn: And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete; “Jesus died my soul to save,” My lips shall still repeat. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Easter eggs spoil, chocolate candy melts, and baskets filled with toys eventually deteriorate. The only Easter gift guaranteed to last for all eternity is the message of the empty tomb. See you at our Easter Celebration!

 

                                 “For God so loved the world that he gave his on and only Son, that whoever                                               believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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