Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trouble in River City!

I'm pretty confused at the moment. 

I don't think I've ever had so much trouble!

When a song grabs me I tend to listen to it over and over. It usually doesn't take long for the lyrics to stick in my brain. I've always thought it was because the tune and the words cling to each other and make the task easier. So I asked myself this morning, What's wrong?

I came across the song a while ago. When I caught myself singing a phrase from it here and there I decided I'd like to commit it to memory. Simple, I thought. I'll start with the first verse. 

After a week I still don't have the six lines down pat - most upsetting. When I'm reading the words I do just fine, but for some reason they don't seem to be sticking.

          Arise, my soul, arise,
          Shake off thy guilty fears.
          The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
          Before the throne my surety stands.
          Before the throne my surety stands,
          My name is written on His hands.

I was stumbling my way through the lines this morning when I stopped short. Okay, Sandra, it's time to figure this out. What's making this exercise so difficult? 

It took some humble consideration to realize that it might be because I was having trouble grasping the full meaning of the lyrics. Part of the reason the song means so much to me is that I recognize the negative influence "guilty fears" have had in my life. So that wasn't the problem.

I identified the places I was getting stuck; "in my behalf", "my surety", "my name". Either the words wouldn't come or my mind would substitute others in their place. Time to step back and ponder.

Perhaps I need to meditate on the implications of the lyrics for my own heart and life in order to be able to more easily commit them to memory.

The Risen Wound-bearing Christ appears before the throne of justice on MY BEHALF.

He stands there as MY GUARANTOR* paying the debt of perfect obedience I owe the Father. (repeated twice)

MY NAME is engraved on the hands of the Worthy Advocate who intercedes with the Holy Judge.

I'm thinking it's going to be a deep journey to memorize this hymn. Care to join me?

*Surety means "a person who takes responsibility for another's performance of an undertaking, for example their appearing in court or the payment of a debt." (widget dictionary)

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