Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Communion Hymn Meditation: How Sweet and Aweful is the Place

In a few moments we’re going to sing together a favorite Isaac Watts hymn “How Sweet and Aweful is the Place.  It’s a hymn about this great parable –
He opens the first verse by describing the great and admire-able feast of Christ’s Kingdom – It is a feast that is sweet and full of awe … and one that displays the choicest foods from His stores.
And when we join together for that great feast, from our hearts, we will cry out to the Lord – “Why am I a guest?  Why did I hear Your voice inviting me here when so many others choose to starve outside?”
Watts gives us the correct answer.  The Lord replies – “The same sweet love that spread this feast drew you here.  Without it, you also would have refused and perished.”
So Watts finishes the hymn with a prayer for us to sing together.
And it is the application of this Kingdom parable.
After confessing that the only reason we’ve been invited into the Kingdom feast was the sweetness of God’s love toward us, we pray and ask Him to have compassion on the nations and to extend the call of His sweet love to all the earth.  We ask Him to constrain or draw strangers to their true home and to make His Word victorious, that it would triumph in our world.
The fact that unworthies such as we have been invited to Christ’s great banquet-feast fills us with longing to see all of His churches filled with people to join us in singing from our hearts with one voice the hymn of His redeeming grace.
Why did Israel receive the immeasurable blessings of the Covenant?  Why have we received the priceless blessings of the Kingdom?
Not because we earned it.  Not because God knew He’d get a good return on His investment.  In fact, as we’ll see – God-willing – later this season when we get to Lk 17, when we have done all we can, we will still have failed to return God any profit for what He spent on us.

By inviting us to His feast, Christ has been gracious to those who can never repay Him, just as He has called us to do.  And so the Father has exalted Him and will yet still reward Him at the consummation of all things – the resurrection of the just and the wedding feast of the Lamb.