“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Once again we’ll be learning a new song together this Sunday at LifePoint’s gathering. The song is an adapted rendition of Charles Wesley’s classic hymn And Can It Be produced by members of LifePoint’s worship ministry.
Below you’ll find a performance video and lyrics. But first, a little context and an explanation of why this hymn matters for LifePoint.
Some time back, Pastor Lane asked me to incorporate this song (written by Wesley in 1738) into our regular rotation of music for gathered worship. Therefore, because our congregation being exposed to this hymn is a direct result of something the Lord has been doing in his heart and life, I’ve asked Pastor Lane to contribute to this week’s post by explaining to the readers of Sunday In Advance why he thought LifePoint Church should be singing this hymn.
Here’s what he had to say…
A Word from Pastor Lane
Headlines bombard us with a world void of love. This void creates a vacuum that holds the potential to drain hope from every person. How does the Church address this loveless void with any measure of effectiveness? This tension has increased within me over the last several years as our world continues to explode in hostility toward Jesus and His Kingdom. I confess, my heart grows overwhelmed and tempted to lose hope for myself and for the people I am charged to pastor. We cannot dismiss this tension lightly, and we must not disregard it as something that will pass. Christians must look upon the world with the same compassionate gaze of Jesus, and engage them with the only thing that can restore hope, speak life and bring light to this great darkness: love. But, how?
The only way the church will share the love of God in Jesus Christ is to first look upon the one who loved us; to remember God’s great love through the gospel, and revel in it at all times together. Several months ago in my devotion time this reality confronted me as I turned in a hymnal and began to read these words:
And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me?
He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
Tis mercy all! Immense and free! For, O my God, it found out me.
Amazing love! How can it be? That thou my God shouldst die for me?
As a flood of hope rushed into my heart through these words, the answer to my question became clear: God’s love in Jesus Christ. There is at least some truth in the old adage, “when we forget our past, we are doomed to repeat it.” When we forget how lost we were, and how loving Jesus is to save us, we wallow in fear, doubt and defeat. But when we look upon Jesus, the one who died for all, and revel in His great love to save, we have a hope and confidence that holds us and sends us to declare an amazing love! I sent the hymn to Tyler and asked him to lead us in reveling in God’s love, to strengthen our hearts and our faithful witness as His Church. Let us sing, LifePoint, with every ounce of energy, breath of life and fullness of heart of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
(Video filmed and produced by Logan Pyle.)
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood
Died He for me who caused His pain
O what a vast and boundless love
He left His Father’s throne above
The Word of God made man to save
Emptied Himself of all but love
And bled for Adam’s helpless race
Amazing love, amazing love
What glorious, amazing love
That Thou my God shouldst die for me
O can it be? Amazing love
Each day the Spirit’s voice I hear
He tells of all my sins forgiv’n
For Christ’s atoning blood is near
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heav’n
No condemnation now I dread
For Christ, and all in Him, is mine
Alive in Him my living Head
And clothed in righteousness divine
Enslaved no more, my heart is free
I’ll rise, go forth and follow Thee
For Thine own blood has purchased me
O can it be? Amazing love
Original lyrics by Charles Wesley (1738), public domain
Modified lyrics and new arrangement by Tyler Greene & Chad Watson
© 2016 Life Together Music (ASCAP)
***A note about lyrics and melody***
If you’re at all familiar with this hymn, you quickly noticed that the melody has been revised and several alterations have been made to the lyrics. This was done for an important reason. The melodies and lyrics of many classic hymns, while they served people well during the time period in which they were written, can often be confusing and inaccessible for modern-day congregations. Most people just aren’t familiar with the much of rhetoric and musical distinctives of past generations.
Therefore, we’ve altered some of the lyrics, changed the melody and revised the overall arrangement of the song (i.e. verses, choruses, etc) to make it as impactful as possible for the people of LifePoint. We feel that these changes were made without violating the integrity of Wesley’s work in its original form.
Songs for Sunday, October 09, 2016:
Our Song from Age to Age
And Can It Be (Amazing Love)
(Charles Wesley, Tyler Greene, Chad Watson)
(No link available. See video above.)
Lead Me to the Cross
O Come to the Altar
(Steven Furtick, Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Wade Joye)
The One And the Only