NEW BRITAIN 188.8.131.52 (“Amazing Grace”)
O Lord, I thank you for the gift
that you once gave for me.
You humbly went up to your death
so I could be set free.
I know your love within my soul—
and then I see, by grace:
You came for all— to make us whole
in every time and place.
You freed us from death’s awful sting;
you gave us life anew.
So this becomes our offering:
We give our lives to you.
We love you and our neighbors, too;
we welcome and forgive.
We serve the poor and so serve you;
in this, we learn to live.
We thank you for your sacrifice;
it is our starting place
to be the church, to share your life,
to share amazing grace.
Tune: Traditional American melody (MIDI)
Permission is given for free use of this hymn, including in online worship services. For sheet music: O Lord, I Thank You for the Gift.
Biblical references: Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Philippians 2:8; Galatians 5:1; John 3:16- 17; Romans 8:21-23; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 John 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; John 3:7; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 6:12; John 1:3-5; Matthew 28:16-20.
I woke up this morning thinking about the meaning and power of Jesus’ death on a cross. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Confession of 1967 describes it this way: “God’s reconciling act in Jesus Christ is a mystery which the Scriptures describe in various ways. It is called the sacrifice of a lamb, a shepherd’s life given for his sheep, atonement by a priest; again it is ransom of a slave, payment of debt, vicarious satisfaction of a legal penalty, and victory over the powers of evil. These are expressions of a truth which remains beyond the reach of all theory in the depths of God’s love for humanity. They reveal the gravity, cost, and sure achievement of God’s reconciling work.”
Sometimes we try to understand Jesus’ death on a cross theologically. Most times, we simply need to say, “Thank you!” Jesus’ death was for you and me — and also for more than us as individuals. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) means that Jesus came for all of humanity and for all of God’s created world (the world = the cosmos = all of creation). We respond to God’s grace by being gracious to others. We seek to live radically new lives as part of a church — welcoming people in need of God’s love, serving those in need, forgiving others, caring for the world God made, and seeking justice that brings wholeness to all that God loves. All our actions, though, start with our sense of gratitude for what God did, in Jesus Christ, in that Holy Week. Amazing grace!