Hymn of the day

by Richard on June 26, 2011

And can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood`?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
‘Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel-minds inquire no more.

He left his Father’s throne above,
(So free, so infinite his grace!)
Emptied himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Graham 06.26.11 at 9:08 am

Number 216…..the hymn that will maybe one day be played at my funeral.

I must have sang it loads when I was little and not had a clue what it meant. Over the years it meant more and more and began to express in words what I struggled to articulate. Still gives me a lump in my throat….

2

Richard 06.26.11 at 9:56 am

One of CW’s finest, to be sure.

3

Ian McKenzie 06.26.11 at 1:00 pm

My favourite, also on my list of funeral songs

4

PamBG 06.26.11 at 4:02 pm

Also on my list of funeral songs. And if I die in the US still attending a Lutheran congregation as I am at present, the singing should be interesting. (I remember the first time I heard this hymn - it was the Anglican vicar’s favourite before I became a Methodist - and I thought how complicated the tune was.)

5

Richard 06.26.11 at 5:03 pm

Ah, yes — the tune. Always Sagina of course, and it is absolutely right for the end of the hymn. I’ve often thought that something different is needed for the first verse. One of my pet peeves is the Methodist habit of bellowing this hymn from the first line.

6

Wendy 06.26.11 at 7:52 pm

oooooh my favourite hymn too.

7

Eddie 06.26.11 at 10:17 pm

Has to be my favorite CW hymn, sang it twice in the last week, funeral Tuesday (tempo too slow in my mind) and with 500 other men at the CVM Gathering on Friday night with Graham Kendrick & his band (who can play a bit!!)

And one day I may get past verse 3 without cracking up!! Somehow I doubt that will happen! & as for My chains fell off, my heart was free!

Not one that crops often in the Anglican church I have to say tho….

8

Pam 06.26.11 at 10:46 pm

I can’t recall having sung it at my church (Anglican).
I like the second last verse - very dramatic!

9

Rachel 06.27.11 at 8:42 am

Makes me feel like a “bad Methodist” because I’m afraid my heart always sinks a little when I know it’s coming up (even if I’ve chosen it!). The hymn itself is just wonderful - the theology in those verses! - but it’s entirely to do with the gusto with which it’s attacked - it wears me out. I think I’d like it a lot better if we didn’t repeat the last 2 lines of each verse - that’s usually the bit that really gets me. I shall now go to confession…..

10

Richard 06.27.11 at 9:33 am

Not at all, Rachel. I very much agree. The hymn calls for gusto — but it should rise through the singing. Most of the the time, the first lines are bellowed with such vim that there’s nowhere else to go. I wish we weren’t so tied to Sagina. Anyone tried anything different?

11

Tony Buglass 06.27.11 at 11:45 am

I was a rep to the 1996 Methodist Conference in Blackpool, held in the Winter Gardens. As the vast congregation gathered for the Conference Sunday morning service, some of us worried about having “And Can It Be” - this had all the makings of a big cheesy Methodist bellow. We needn’t have worried - it was sung with passion and feeling. Plenty volume, but not excessively so. Just right, in fact. It was one of those very special moments.

I have once sung it to a different tune - on a church weekend some decades ago, we wondered about the second tune in the Methodist Hymn Book, which none of us had ever sung. So we gathered round the piano and sang it to Lansdown - the verdict was that Lansdown was an acceptable tune, and should be sung more, but Sagina was the one for that hymn. Then of course when Hymns and Psalms came along, Lansdown wasn’t included. Ah, well…

12

Kim 06.27.11 at 12:02 pm

This is all very well, but will it fly on The X Factor?

13

Kim 06.27.11 at 12:26 pm

And another thing: it’s typical Chuck stuff, isn’t it?: all about me. ;)

[I love crashing Methodist parties!]

14

Richard 06.27.11 at 1:32 pm

This is very personal, it’s true. But even here, it isn’t all about me. This is Wesley’s rejoicing that he has a part in the love which God has for all his people: “Emptied himself of all but love, / And bled for Adam’s helpless race”. But I agree that it can be easily misinterpreted as an individualist hymn, which is why I prefer Let earth and heaven agree. It isn’t as well known, but it is a better hymn.

15

Kim 06.27.11 at 6:43 pm

Just joshing, mate. Hence the ;) . Chuck definitely gets the benefit of the doubt with this wonderful worship song. Sorry, I mean “hymn”.

16

Richard 06.27.11 at 10:56 pm

I knew that :)

17

Kim 06.28.11 at 7:50 am

I knew you knew that! :)

18

Richard 06.28.11 at 7:59 am

And I knew that you knew that I knew that :)

19

Paul 06.29.11 at 9:47 am

I absolutely agree that this is marvellous as long as you don’t bellow it from beginning to end. The first time I heard an organist lead it sensitively (moving from very quiet to very loud through the hymn) it suddenly stopped being a “good sing” and actually began to mean something.

I do wonder how many people thought I was mad or drunk when I was cycling along one day on a very old bike and suddenly the chain fell off. I couldn’t stop giggling.

20

fatprophet 06.29.11 at 10:32 pm

I posted a comment about this post on Monday but I am not sure what happened to it.
Essentially I said the hymn went quite well to Didsbury (2nd tune in Hymns and Psalms).
I also said that when I play the organ at church we have 7 preset tabs and I generally pull out all the stops but start verse 1 with number 4 setting and work up to number 7 for the penutimate verse and the knock the presets off and have all the stops out for the final verse - it usually goes quite well.

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