Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's All About the Cross

As I have mentioned, one of the most significant things the choir can contribute to a worship service is "singing truth" to the congregation. And, as I have also mentioned, that colors my selection of new music. Every season I recieve a number of catalogs and demo discs to review. I listen to a lot of Christian "elevator music", but once in a while one of the demonstrated anthems really grabs me emotionally-in fact, I usually suddenly find myself in tears as I am listening. Invariably, it is the Truth of the lyrics that brings this about.

This summer, as I listened to the demos by the hour in the choir room, I found the one. "It's All About the Cross", by Ruth Elaine Schram, is what I call a meta-narrative anthem. It gives a "Gospel-in-a-nutshell" presentation. I especially like to include meta-narratives around the holidays, when the church is often full of visitors and Christmas-and-Easter attenders. This particular anthem stood out to me as the one that we should do on Palm Sunday, when Pastor usually gives a sermon in first person style, and our members often invite friends. It is the perfect narrative to lead us into Holy Week.

I ordered it immediately. But throughout the summer, the lyrics of that anthem ministered to me so many times, especially those times when I was feeling some discouragement, because they helped me to focus on what I was really doing by serving in my position as Music Coordinator. After a particularly tough situation, I slipped that demo disc into the boombox in my room, and felt once again the "peace that passes understanding" fill me, healing me, encouraging me, and renewing my sense of purpose.

I decided that it would make a great piece to focus the choir on their personal ministry through music as well. So, rather than hold it for Palm Sunday, I introduced it this fall, and invited the choir to make it our ministry theme for the year. They loved it! Then the Lord led me to invite Dana, a woman in our congregation who teaches the hearing impaired, to sign along with us as we sang it. Little did I know that she has especially loved doing this as a way to share Truth with some deaf friends. She helped us, but we also helped her by giving her this outlet for ministry.

Last Sunday, we offered "It's All About the Cross" in the worship service, right at the close of the service. As the choir and Dana finished, there were resounding "Amens!" from the congregation, as well as applause, not for us, but for the powerful testimony of the words.

"It's All About the Cross" by Ruth Elaine Schram

We read about creation, the world You made for us,
The beauty of the garden, sublime and glorious.
We read about the Fall when innocence was lost,
When innocence was lost.
We read of people's lives and the lessons that begin;
The consequence of evil, the wretched stain of sin;
And then, the Ten Commandments, the firm, unyielding Law,
The firm, unyielding Law.

It's all about the Cross,
And God's amazing grace,
To take us from the Fall to a Holy place!
To seek us in our helpless and fallen state,
To find us when we're lost;
It's all about the Cross!

And so, You sent a Saviour, the Lamb without a flaw,
To fully keep the letter and spirit of the Law;
To live a life that's holy, a life that pleases God.
And then the Spotless Lamb was the final sacrifice;
Our righteousness complete through the precious blood of Christ.
We finally see how far from your holiness we are,
How much we need the Cross!

It's all about the Cross, and God's amazing grace,
To take us from the Fall to a holy place!
To seek us in our helpless and fallen state,
To find us when we're lost;
It's all about the Cross!
Thank God for the Cross!

So, that's our ministry theme for the choral season. It's all about the Cross!

"When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. " (1 Cor.2:1-2)

1 comment:

KK said...

I discovered your blog when I googled the lyrics for "It's All About The Cross" and found them here!

I agree totally about this song - it's brilliant! I am a Music Pastor at a smallish Baptist Church in Chicago.

I found this song recently and intend to purcase it soon, as this year I am making this the theme "It's All About The Cross" and using this as the theme song for Easter.

We are starting the Good Friday/Tenebrae Service off with it and finishing Easter Sunday with it.

Thanks for the lyrics :)
And God Bless You
Caleb Smith.