Saturday, July 26, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays: At Calvary

A couple of days ago, I added a new link to my sidebar. The really pretty blue one with cute musical notes on it that says Then Sings My Soul Saturdays, is the one I am referring to. I discovered this blogging opportunity just this week, and have been eager since for Saturday, to get here. And, here we are!! This will be a regular part of my blogging. Every Saturday, a new song.

Music is the art of sound and can evoke emotions. For instance, I can listen to instrumental pieces of Beethoven’s performed that I do not associate with words of worship, praise or adoration toward God, or any other tangible thought or memory, and yet it can stir my heart so that I cry. What a powerful tool music is. It can reach the parts of the heart~soul, like nothing else. I am so grateful for music. Enter words. There is power of life and death in the tongue, our words. So combine the stirring power of music with the creative power of words, and you have endless possibilities for the level of worship you can reach.

The song I have chosen this Saturday, is At Calvary. Calvary, is where it begins for all of us that have received Christ, as our Savior. And for me, this song was very instrumental in my receiving Jesus, as my personal Savior. So since this is my first time posting on Then Sings My Soul Saturday, I thought I would start at the beginning.

Having been in Bible teaching churches all of my life, by the time I was eleven I had a good understanding of who Jesus, is and that there is an afterlife for each of us that will be spent in either Heaven, or Hell. I guess I just figured that was all sown up for me because I was a church kid and knew that stuff. No biggie, I'm in for the Heaven, destination.

Normally for Sunday evening service, I would sit with the rest of the kids my age. At eleven years old one was not a part of the "Youth Group", but we were all tolerated by them and they "allowed" us to sit in "their" pews for that service. The Youth Group leaders had that pack of energy seated fairly close to the front. Smart that team. But this particular hot summer evening, in July, I chose to sit in nearly the back row, on the inside by the isle, and by myself. All afternoon that Sunday, I wanted to get back to church. Something was stirring in my heart. Later I would understand that was the, Holy Spirit. I was a Tom~Boy growing up. Since I could get away with sandals and a casual skirt and top for Sunday evenings, and leave those dress shoes, tights and dressy dresses at home, I did. But this stirring in me made me want to dress up. So I chose my favorite dressy dress. It had an empire waist with a Daffodil yellow skirt and bolero jacket. The bodice was white and so were the Daisy appliques on the skirt. Donned in my best dress, I walked in the church, headed for the sanctuary and chose my isolated seat near the back. I am sure my mother thought something was wrong, my friends thought I had lost it, and I could not have explained myself but to say something was pulling on me like I had never been pulled before. God, was calling my name that day, and I heard Him, and followed His leading.

As Pastor Warford preached, it felt as though he, the pull on my heart and I, were the only ones in the room. He spoke of how God, loved us each personally. He spoke of how great that love was in that He gave His only Son, just to get us back from the course of destruction we were on. And, he spoke of how God, would have done that for anyone of us, and just one of us. And, that He in fact did it for all of us. He spoke of how each of us must choose God's Son Jesus, for ourselves. He spoke of how God doesn't have grand kids. He spoke to me.

At the end of the service, that song I knew by heart and had sung countless and boring times began, At Calvary. I had walked around vainly just assuming all was well because I was a church kid and knew some, Bible. Until that evening, I figured I was as good as the next kid and my sins were no worse than others. In fact, I was a pretty neat kid. Such vanity... oh my. As you read the verses in the song below, just know they really pulled me out of my blind condition. My first spiritual light bulb went on that night, and it revealed my need for a Savior, for Jesus. But the refrain. After every verse was the refrain. The verses convicted me... but the refrain delivered me.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

Read those lines again, please.

There was mercy for me... those convictions I was trying to suppress did not need suppressed, they needed forgiven. And, all I had to do was accept the forgiveness. The grace was free for the taking. I wanted Jesus, as my Savior. I wanted Him as my friend. And there, I found liberty... At Calvary.

That was the best night of my life. My closest friendship, the safest place for me to go, the anchor of my life, all began that night. Thirty eight years later, this hot July afternoon, I am blessed to have a place here to share that.

The fruit of this song in my life is truly a tribute to the power of words. For me, the composition of the music in this song is nothing amazing that would normally stir me on it’s own merit. Because of the role this song played in my life, here and now, and forever, it brings an enormous amount of emotion up in me. Start playing that and my heart swells, my eyes water and my hand goes up. It really does not matter where I am, because this is the song that gave my soul a reason to sing!

Thank you, Mr. Newell and Mr. Towner for this wonderful hymn. Praise You Jesus, for Your gift of grace and salvation. May this song always bring glory to You, Abba Father for the gift of Your Son!

At Calvary

1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.
2. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.
3. Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary!
4. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!
*Refrain: Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty At Calvary.

Author ~ William R. Newell, 1868~1956
Composer ~ Daniel B. Towner, 1850~1919

Be blessed!


LAURIE said...

Teresa, I had to come over and visit your sight after I saw your comment on my blog and that you are a GB Packer fan! WOW. I am so glad you found your way over to my page and I appreciate your prayers for my son so much. His name is Jeremy and he is in the Air Force. What is your son in laws first name and his branch? I will add him to the military prayer list I have on my prayer blog. We are having a wonderful time with our son before he ships out - in fact he has decided to marry his longtime girlfriend before he leaves and that is definetly taking my mind off of him going overseas for now. God is so good and I know that His hand is upon my son as well as your son in law. Thank you for your prayers. I see you joined us in Then Sings My Soul Saturday...I enjoy to participate in that as well and I wanted to say I loved the song you wrote brought back many memories of us singing that in church when I was younger. -hope to talk with you more, Laurie

Amy Wyatt said...

What an amazing post! I hung on every word. I love salvation stories. I share a similar story to yours in that I have been in church all my life. We take so much for granted when we have been in church for so long. Sometimes now when I hear those familiar songs I have sung all my life and really concentrate on the words, it brings me to tears every time. This song is one of them. What incredible words. Thank you for sharing. Glad you joined us and posted us on your sidebar. See you next week.

Peggy said...

Teresa...very meaningful post and song selection! Hymns cannot fail!
You are a GREAT addition to TSMSS!
[Hint:Amy usually posts on Fri. night or schedule for 12AM]

You definitely found a hymn that leads us all to Calvary. A good point to begin with your testimony!

Mocha with Linda, to name one of many, usually shares background to
GREAT Hymns! I enjoy hers each week and learn something new about hymns that are familiar but I know little of their composers or why and she shares this each week!

I go for more contemporary Christian: Hillsong for today!

Thank you so much for personalizing yur choice and sharing! Glad you joined us!

Mocha with Linda said...

Oh I loved this hymn as a child! Still do! Thanks for sharing. And welcome to TSMS!

pamokc said...

What a beautiful beautiful story. I love that you dressed in anticipation of what would happen that day. Sunday best for sure. Thank you for the very touching story. Hey, what do you think about meeting for lunch sometime?

Teresa said...

Laurie, welcome to my blog. Thank you, for Jeremy's name. I did pray for him today as well as your family. He and all of you, and (congratulations) his wife to be.
My son~in~law's name is Marty. He is in the Army. On January 28, 2008, I posted Good to be Back! about he, my daughter and their family. I would love for you to take a peek. I am glad you liked my Then Sings My Soul Saturday song and post.

Amy, thanks for the opportunity to share the songs that mean something to us. Though I like some praise and worship choruses, you will find that I have such a special place in my heart for the hymns of our faith. You are so right, the words are so stirring and edifying. I always liked them as a kid, they just seemed to get boring at times. Now, I miss them because we have gone praise and worship chorus crazy. Guess that is why we have CD's. :~)

Peggy, thanks for the posting tip on Amy. I am glad you liked the hymn and the testimony behind it.

Linda, you are welcome. It is a classic and a great one... I agree. I hear you are a hymn girl too. I will be checking in on you regularly.

Pam, you are so welcome. Yeah, I'm not a dress or style diva, guess my Tom~Boy was to be a constant in my life. I used to envy tall women that waltzed through a room instead of bounce as I do, but God made me short and sassy and I am good with that now. I still wear yellow. :~)

Lunch... I'd love to. I'm not working yet and you work full days, and you know the area, you choose the time and place. Email me and I'll be there.

david mcmahon said...

I still have crystal-clear memories of singing at Sunday School.

Barbara said...

Enjoyed reading your testimony Teresa.

carla said...

Just found your blog from the Show and Tell list, and I'm so glad that I did. I'm a native Tulsan, living in Texas for lo, these 26 years. Testimonies about how people accepted Jesus as their saviour are precious. Yours brought back so many memories to me. Even though I'm about 5 years older than you, I had a dress similar to the one with the daisies that you described, except mine didn't have a bolero. My mother made mine for my 8th grade graduation.

We were a 3 services a week family (except my dad), but Sunday nights were special to me. Training Union was more enjoyable to me than Sunday School, we had missionary stories and films, played Bible games and it was less formal. There were a lot fewer people attending the Sunday night worship service so it was less formal, also. At least once a month, we'd have spontaneous testimonies and song requests. Even years before the 'praise and worship' style came in, we sang chorus's. It was memorable.

I asked Jesus into my heart one Sunday morning when a visiting preacher named Hyman Appleman gave the message, and I was baptized that night.

At Calvary is one of my favorites, too. I wish you could hear my husband play it on the piano, Southern Gospel Style.

God Bless You.

P.S. Love that haircut!