HYMN 158 Cleansed and Forgiven
Norwegian: Ren og Rettferdig
Text : Ole Brattekaas (1863-1916) Tune: Swedish folk tune
1. Cleansed and forgiven,
Ready for heaven,
Jesus has covered all of my sin.
His word assures me,
Sin cannot hurt me,
He has forgiv’n me; I’m whole again.
Now I am saved and blessed for he—
My Lord has set me free—really free!
Free from all dying,
Judgment and sighing,
2. I had been fearing
God would not hear me,
No longer pour his grace out to me.
Oh, I was fearful,
Struggling and tearful
Pain filled my heart, and all I could see.
But in my struggles, efforts at life,
All I could find was death, pain, and strife.
God’s Lamb victorious
Shone bright and glorious,
3. Oh, what great bounty
God’s love has found me!
Christ has redeemed us, just as we are!
Though he was fearful,
Struggling and tearful,
He fought the devil, and won the war.
Now we are free—so listen again;
Lay on the Savior all of your sin!
God is proclaiming
Grace has reclaimed me,
MEDITATION Here is joyful song of salvation! The writer, a poor farm worker, was said to have written it on the wall of a barn as he was working. The rhyme is almost fizzy and fun, almost like he is clicking his heels for joy as he writes.
That we have been accepted just as we are—like the Elliott hymn “Just as I am”—thrills him. And he just doesn’t say it—we tell new writers, don’t tell me how it felt, show me, make me feel how it felt. I think this language does that. This is joyful news!
It reminds me of the missionary story where on hearing the story of Jesus’ redemptive love for us, a native in Madagascar, I think it was, looked at the missionary and said, "Then what took you so long?" Why, if all this joy were ours, had we been so slow to bring the good news to everyone else?
When I was first teaching at the seminary, Katakshamma, a woman from India, enrolled to study. She was filled with such joy, so glad in the good news, that everywhere she went, joy seemed to fill the room. Once she spoke about the overwhelming joy of salvation, wondering how it was possible to be anything but filled with joy to know what Christ had done for us?
Before she went back to India, she gave me a lovely batik from her home region. It is hanging in my home now. She is gone now, home to her Lord. But whenever I pass by it, I feel again the joy bubbling out of her and rejoice in the joy she shared with all of us. "Grace has reclaimed us! Amen! Hallelejuh!"
Ole Brattekass was born in Flåbygd, Telemark, to a poor farmer. Ole had to leave home to earn his own living when young. He had many sorrows, among them the death of his brother by drowning. At a revival meeting in Bamble, Telemark, he heard a Swedish pastor preaching, and had a profound awakening. Immediately he began writing hymns and poems. He was urged to have them published and soon did. His family had moved to Kragerø which became his home. He became a lay preacher in the Innermission movement. He worked for the Norwegian Mission Society in Drammen. He edited a magazine Mellom venner which later became part of For Fattig og Rik, a paper that was well known in this country as well.
The melody was well known and became the tune for this text sometime in the twenties. The tune is also in the latest hymnal of the ELCA. “O living breath of God.”
M. Krogsgaard/Imi Church
Målfrid Marie Salmeskatt