I Love to Tell the Story
I am not sure how appropriate it is to refer to another blog in a blog, especially when you author both yourself, but the fact is that for a little different approach to this theme, as well as an indication as to where at least some of the inspiration came from please see my other blog, www.paulclarkjr.com.
That said, I want review the heart of a great old hymn that has been a means of inspiration and spiritual direction in recent months. Those of you who participated in last year’s Tennessee Baptist Convention gathering as part of the Tennessee Mens Chorale and/or the retreat in which we made preparation for the convention, will know some of the outgrowth of that inspiration, but I want to focus this attention more intentionally toward worship in our churches including yours in today’s reflection. More pointedly, I want to remind us how crucial it is that our worship tells HIS story, God’s story, not just our own. A quick disclaimer, of course we share our testimonies, and declare how the Gospel had changed and remade us for certain. It is incumbent upon us, however, to be certain that we do not hit the pause button before giving crystal clarity to the larger picture within which our lives have been changed and remade. In this old hymn we hear the author reminding of her motivation behind her love for the story, “it is true;” “for some have never heard;” and it’s eternal nature, “twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”
I believe the old gospel hymn, I Love to Tell the Story, like other hymns and worship songs, relentlessly turns and returns the attention of the story and the resultant praise where it belongs, upon Jesus. Interestingly, the song’s composing grew out of Katherine Hankey’s experience of suffering with debilitating illness. She appears to have been a person of lifelong faith in Jesus, growing up in a devout Christian family, and committing herself to teach in the Sunday School movement, and later to devote her life to work as a missionary. While convalescing from the extended illness she wrote two long poems, The Story Wanted, and The Story Told. Our hymn Tell Me the Old, Old Story coming out of the first of these poems, and I Love to Tell the Story coming from the second, both in 1866.
Helping our people worship through singing with mind(head) and spirit (heart) (1 Cor 14:15) includes drawing them into the meaning of what we ask them to sing and say and hear, and it is best controlled by the story in which we all find our lives, God’s story. To Him alone be glory!