Here is Love

September 8, 2010
9:27 AM

Before the month gets away from me I must pause and reflect a moment on our hymn of the month for September. The love of God for the world, expressed through Jesus Christ has and will always be one of the central truths of the gospel that inspires our songs of worship. The Scriptures abound with statements about God’s love. One of the earliest texts of worship states, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV) John states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) Paul prays, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV) He also affirms, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV) John again says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

William Reese was the Welsh preacher who penned the words to Here is Love in 1876. His contemporary, Robert Lowery, wrote the music that same year. Reese pictured the love of God as being as vast as the ocean, and his loving-kindness like a flood. And how did God give love like this? Through the blood of Christ shed on our behalf – the Prince of Life, our ransom. Verse two continues the simile. Through the crucifixion of our Savior fountains opened deep and wide, his mercy was released through floodgates, a vast and gracious tide. His grace and love are compared to a mighty river flowing without ceasing, kissing the guilty world with love. His poetic imagery helps to take the truth of Scripture from our minds to our hearts where we receive and believe it. Reese stopped there, but in 1900 another hymn writer, William Williams, decided to pen some additional lyrics. These became the third and fourth verses. At some point they were slightly changed from 3rd person plural to 1st person singular. I can’t imagine the hymn without these terrific verses that move forward from declaring the love of God to personally expressing active faith, prayerful desire, and praise to God in the form of living a life shaped by his love. I think it gives us a more complete worship response.

Receiving the love of God, given in his Son, Jesus Christ, is the greatest, life-changing decision in all the universe. I will never tire of hearing an old or new song of praise declaring and rejoicing in the love of God. With David, I will always say, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalms 63:3-4 NIV)

Here Is Love
by William Reese, William Williams, Robert Lowery
Here is love vast as the ocean
Lovingkindness as the flood
When the Prince of life, our ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember
Who can cease to sing His praise
He can never be forgotten
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days

On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

In Your truth You will direct me
By Your spirit, through Your word
And Your grace my need is meeting
As I trust in You my Lord
Of Your fullness You are pouring
Your great love on me anew
Without measure, full and boundless
Drawing out my heart to You

Let me all Your love accepting
Love You ever all my days
Let me seek Your kingdom only
And my life be to Your praise
You alone will be my glory
Nothing in this world I seek
You have cleansed and sanctified me
You, Yourself have set me free

Just after eleven o’clock on a Wednesday evening a hundred years ago, a solo voice rang out with the beautiful Welsh hymn “Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean”. Maybe a thousand people were in the Chapel at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They’d been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion.

Meetings like it were taking place across Wales night after night, with fervent prayer and passionate singing – and similar disregard for the clock. They both excited and appalled, left many puzzled and some frightened, but it was reckoned that in less than a year, over a hundred and fifty thousand people had made a new commitment to Jesus Christ.

Whole communities changed, as men and women found themselves drawn into a powerful experience of God; and sparks from their awakening were soon to ignite fires in more than a dozen other countries. And the hymn that soloist struck up spontaneously, about “love vast as the ocean”, was heard so often that it became known as “the love song of the revival”. (from truthinhistory.org)

O Lord, God, may the simple yet profound truth of your love for us, poured out richly through the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, spark a revival among the people in our community. Work powerfully in our worship services as we declare your great love in our songs of praise!
Amen.

bill-signature
Bill Born

Advertisements

About bornfun

I'm married with 4 kids, an orange farmer, a pastor and worship leader at Trinity Church. I love God and I love people. I seek to be wholly devoted to the glory of God, living all of my life as worship to Him.
This entry was posted in Music, Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s