This past weekend, I was in a class that Kevin Twit taught on the History of Hymnody. It was a weekend seminar at my seminary, covering the hymn as a genre of writing (not specifically the music thereof, though we did sing periodically in the lectures).
For the class, we’ve been reading Faith Cook’s Our Hymn Writers and Their Hymns. I have been stirred, even as I’ve cried, as I’ve read about people dying well, trusting their Savior while passing on their love for Christ and the experience of joy in Him and sorrow in weakness and sin to others through their music.
In chapel an excellent new tune by Joel Littlepage to a hymn by Ora Rowan (altered by Kevin Twit) was introduced. The words were especially moving and I cried as I sang them on Friday:
Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand, own Him–
Joyful, choose the better part.
What can strip the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty:
But the sight of peerless worth.
‘Tis the look that melted Peter
‘Tis the face that Stephen saw
‘Tis the heart that wept with Mary
Can alone from idols draw.
Captivated by His beauty
Worthy tribute, haste to bring
Let His peerless worth constrain thee
Crown Him now unrivaled King.
The wideness of God’s mercy is best demonstrated in his irrespect of generation. He speaks to all generations, not just mine or yours. He offers them all the promise of the forgiveness of sin and bids them look to Him and live–just as the children of Israel bitten by snakes were to look upon the bronze serpent on the stick and live.
I want to finish well.
I want to die well.