“If we have died with Christ, we believe that we also will live with him.” Romans 6:8 (NRSV)
Though I have been a Christian for many years now, I have not spent all that time as a Presbyterian. For the first third of my life I was a Southern Baptist. In my hometown of Union, South Carolina, I was nurtured in the Christian faith at Tabernacle Baptist Church. I had some good experiences there … attending Sunday school and Training Union in addition to morning and evening worship. I will always look back on my times attending Vacation Bible School there with great fondness. It was there that I made my profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was later baptized by immersion.
This was the church to which my parents and paternal grandparents belonged. I always enjoyed the singing and most often sat with my parents. Occasionally I did sit with my Papa as my Mama sang in the choir. One of the spirited hymns we sang was He Lives. Compared with other hymns, He Lives was one of the most joyful and I can still hear that congregation singing that old hymn in my memories.
Listen to the third verse and refrain:
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’ narrow way.
He lives, He lives salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.
While this hymn may not be entirely “in sync” with Reformed theology, I cannot deny the wonderful memories I have of singing it with loved ones, some of whom, have joined that great company of saints. We sing eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King, they there and me here. They see Him face-to-face and I wait for that time even as He walks with me today. In the meantime, I am convinced that none other is so loving, so good and kind! Jesus Christ lives today! He lives within my heart. I hope He lives within your heart too!
Dear God we thank You for the Church, for good old hymns and many wonderful new songs of faith, and for our Risen and Living Savior and Lord. We thank You for good times within the churches of which we have been a part and for all of those persons who nurtured us in the faith. Help us to be good nurturers and give us faith to sing always as we seek to worship Christ and build up His Church! Amen.