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
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!
1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
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
3. Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
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
*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