A song that will not pump you up – but it will!

michaelangeloThis Sunday we introduce a new/old song, From the Depths of Woe.  It’s a new song for our church, but not a new song to the world since it was written by Luther in the 16th century.  Based on Ps. 130, this hymn is brutally honest with our true anthropology.  It sings of our weakness, our secret sin, and our deepest need for mercy and absolution.  It tells us that even when we’re at our best, it’s never good enough (“Our works, alas! Are all in vain; | In much the best life faileth.” v.2).

Some would ask why sing such a depressing song?  And I agree, it is a depressing song if it began and ended with our low anthropology. But it’s against the backdrop of our low anthropology that the brilliance and the beauty of Christ is made large.

The heart of the song is God’s grace running full force toward ragamuffins and prodigals.  This song admits our limits and decapitates any notion that God wants us to live up to our full potential.  Instead, it sings of the limitless love of God flowing again and again to people who fail again and again to love God and neighbor as they should, let alone find their purpose and destiny.

And it’s in light of this good news that we find true rest, comfort, security, and joy.  

This Sunday, as with every Sunday, we gather once again to hear and receive the good news of God’s liberating grace.  The way we hear it is through the preaching and singing of the word, and through the sacraments of Communion and water baptism.

So maybe take a moment to read Psalm 130 before Sunday, and let your soul bask in the warmth of God’s mercy that is your support, your fort, your comfort, and your rest (v.3).

1. From the depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,

O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?)
O who shall stand before Thee? (Who shall stand before Thee?)

2. To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! Are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth;
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,

And live alone by mercy (Live alone by mercy)
And live alone by mercy (Live alone by mercy)

3. Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His word
Upholds my fainting spirit;
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort and my sweet support;

I wait for it with patience (Wait for it with patience)
I wait for it with patience (Wait for it with patience)

4. What though I wait the live-long night,
And ’til the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth;
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;

And wait ’til God appeareth (Wait ’til God appeareth)
And wait ’til God appeareth (Wait ’til God appeareth)

5. Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our upmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free

From all their sin and sorrow (All their sin and sorrow)
From all their sin and sorrow (All their sin and sorrow)

We are free from sin and sorrow (Free from sin and sorrow)
We are free from sin and sorrow (Free from sin and sorrow)

 

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