Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

We sang "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" at church on Sunday. Not previously one of my favourites, but this time the words really spoke to me. And what they said was …

God really doesn't want us to kill each other. Rather, he wants us to tell people about Jesus.

Apologies if that sounds obvious. A particular application: that’s how he wants us to deal with Muslim terrorists (just as it is for peace-loving democratic Muslims). Tell them about Jesus, pray for them, try to reach them with the gospel and save them. He doesn’t want us to blow them up.

Yes, I know these people are dangerous. No-one is safe apparently, not even here in Leamington Spa. If we let them live and try to reason with them with the Gospel, some of us might get killed.

But is that really so bad? Did that deter St. Peter, or St. Paul, or St. Stephen – knowing that if they carried on preaching the word so boldly they might forfeit their lives? Absolutely not!

As Jesus says: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Originally posted 2005-12-19


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