Mark 1: 21-29
Text: Gracia Grindal. Tune: Amanda Husberg
1. We heard Christ teaching and we knew
That everything he said was true.
The demon shrieked and called his name,
It knew exactly why he came:
To topple Satan’s kingdom down
And so it shouted, Christ be gone!
2. We saw that unclean spirits heard
They could not stand before his word.
The demon knew its enemy
Had come to set his kingdom free.
And so Christ threw the gauntlet down
And toppled evil, death and sin.
3. We feel sheer evil tear apart
The things we love, the human heart,
But do not often sense the pow’r
Of Jesus in this present hour.
We want the demons beaten down
And all their crafty schemes undone.
4. We see our Lord take on our foe,
Defeat the heart of human woe.
He is God’s love sent here to us
To die for us upon the cross,
And on the third day rise again!
Come, sing forever, Christ has won!
Text © Copyright 2008 Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.
CHRIST, OUR MORNING STAR
Text: Gracia Grindal. Tune: Carson Cooman
1. Christ, our Morning Star, Shine, your light is true; Come and fill our hearts, All things come from you. God your Father gives All we need to live.
2. Our unruly wills Need your guiding light; Help us follow still, Teach us what is right So that we may stay Close to you each day.
3. Morning Light that guides All of us t’ward home, Shine and do not hide So we will not roam; Point us t’ward your love, Birth us from above.
4. Star we use to chart Where you'd have us go, Star that fills our hearts With the love you show. Lord, who makes all things, Star of Morning, sing!
Text © Copyright 2015 Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.
The man with the unclean spirit is in the synagogue. A place one might think is free of the devil. Not so fast. As Martin Luther, once observed, Where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel. And the demon is the one who recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of God. These are not idle tales; they reveal an important truth about evil. It is present wherever we are. This side of eternity there is no place free of evil or the devil. The human heart, all of our institutions, even the church, are divided. Evil is not only in others, it is in our hearts, in our most sacred institutions. And Christ has come to cleanse them with the truth. When he speaks the truth to the demon, it flees.
Evil can flourish where people have the best intentions. Solzhynytsyn, the great Russian writer, who spent his life exposing the evil of the Gulags and the terror they caused, came to understand as he suffered in the camps, that the reason the guards could do evil with a good conscience was that they believed what they were doing was for the good.
After seeing how much evil could be perpetrated by those who were in the grip of an ideology that said the other was evil and the persecutions they were doing would ultimately bring about the good, he realized that he could be doing that as well. It was then he came to understand the truth of the Christian faith—that each human heart is the place where the fight between good and evil is fought, a daily struggle, hand to hand combat.
The best motives can result in sheer evil. Nothing is unmixed on this side of heaven. The Christian insight is There but for the grace of God, go I.
All we can do is pray that Christ, who came to defeat Satan and all his works and ways, will lead us toward the truth, even as we know our own hearts can easily delude themselves into thinking they are 100% right. Our unruly hearts need Christ’s guiding light. Pray you can follow it in humility.
These two hymns were written to go with the texts for Epiphany IV in Series B of the Revised Common Lectionary. The Gospel lesson was easy, but the Epistle on eating the right food for the sake of the other and the Old Testament on Moses as prophet were a bit more difficult to sing about so I took the image of following Christ, the morning star as the theme for the hymn. Amanda Husberg’s tune is typical of her lyric sense for a text as is Carson Cooman's. The Epistle hymn uses something like an acrostic, making the first word of each stanza the same as the title.
Music © Copyright 2012 Wayne Leuopld Editions, Inc
NB: Lent is less than a month away. A wonderful Lenten discipline is reading the Passion hymns, one for every day of Lent. Follow the link to buy it and receive it in time.