Today’s offering from Sing Praise is one that I am already familiar with: “Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice” by Matt Redman. It’s clearly a ‘song’ rather than a ‘hymn’ both in its structure and in being phrased in the first person as a personal act of devotion rather than a statement of faith.
In the first verse I (as singer) contrast Jesus going willingly to his death with the gift of life that he gave to me by doing so. The response, expressed in the chorus, is to be humbled (because there’s nothing I can do adequately to repay him for such a gift), broken (because I recognise the sin in my own life that caused him such pain), thankful (because that life is a free gift), and in return “pour out my life”, not in the same way but in the sense of offering my time and talents in his service. Humbled, broken, thankful and committed: the four steps of repentance beautifully expressed in this short chorus. That, I think, is why the song appeals to me.
The second verse looks beyond the cross to the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ as “King of the heavens”, but quickly returns to the present reality: “But for now I marvel at this saving grace, and I’m full of praise once again”. There is also a short bridge before a repeat of the chorus, “thank you for the cross, my friend”. Calling Jesus, King of the heavens, “my friend” seems incredibly arrogant, yet that is what he calls us, and friendship once established is mutual. Its another of the deep mysteries of faith that the one who is beyond time and space is at the same time so close and intimate, that we can call him ‘friend’.