Tuesday, December 22, 2015

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But our reward is Christ. And He is more than enough for us.” ― David Platt

Hang with me for a little history first.  From a poem originally written in the early 1800’s by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, much later a man named Adolfe Adam was asked to turn it into a Christmas poem, which he did in 1847.  From this came a hymn or Christmas carol whose lyrics differ quite a bit from the poem, yet stay true to all its meaning as in 1855, a Unitarian minister, John Sullivan Dwight, created a choral version that most closely resembles the Christmas Carol or hymn that we are all used to hearing, or at least parts of it.  It is still one of the most popular carol/hymns and is heard over and over again every Christmas with most versions shortened from about two minutes to three minutes, yet the full song which takes almost five minutes to sing.  It contains one of the most powerful stanzas in all of songs sung at Christmas, yet it is the one left out by almost everyone who sings it.  The almost forgotten stanza contains the essence of everything Christ taught and radically calls us all to do and be and is the truth and meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.  In this stanza, we are told that the truth of Christ is that He taught us to love one another.  It proclaims, in no uncertain terms that His law is love and His gospel is peace.  To me, at least, it almost shouts that we shall break the chains that enslave our brothers and sisters and in Christ’s name ALL oppression shall cease.  It seems to me that this is the message that should be preached from every pulpit around the world, not only at the time of Christ’s birth, but in one form or another, in almost every worship service.  Of course, I’m one of those radical Christians who truly believe the words of Christ in the Bible and have dedicated what is left of my life to living them.  Nothing gives me greater joy than to love others, to know that Christ’s law is love and that His gospel is peace.  It takes great courage to try to break the chains of oppression that bind our brothers and sisters, but it is what He has called us to do and many answer this call.  The name of the carol/hymn may surprise you since you almost never hear the most challenging stanza, it is “O Holy Night.”  I have included below a version by the Canadian Tenors in which the stanza is included near the end where the crescendo is building.  I hope you take the time to play it and listen and think about what Christ’s coming and life means to you.  Listen for these words:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.

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