Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Word of Grace

by Kent A. Hansen

Dear Friends,

It was breathtaking in June to descend off of the freeway and plunge like a diving submarine into the royal purple sea of jacaranda trees that cover my downtown neighborhood. They are messy trees, carpeting sidewalks and lawns with petals and spraying sticky sap that glazes our vehicles like cheap doughnuts.

Now in early September, the crepe myrtle trees are blooming--human-like, gray, sinewy limbs lifting crimson flowers like a sacrifice of praise up to the deep blue heavens of late summer. Once again our cars are misted with a syrup that makes driving into the afternoon sun a blinding adventure.

Colorful beauty like this is especially welcome in Southern California where we only have two seasons -- dry and kind-of-dry -- and the land is drab brown and granite gray much of the year.

In my childhood, I would sit for hours at the piano, musing my way through the hymnbook. The venerable hymn, "There Is A Green Hill Far Away," caught my attention. I imagined a softly-rounded knoll in a park with a lush green lawn and shady trees where Jesus laid down his life for us nailed on a cross silhouetted against the sunset.

Mrs. Cecil Alexander, who wrote the lyric, lived in the Irish countryside near Derry. She passed a small grassy mound outside of the town wall on her shopping trips. It put her in mind of Calvary as described in Hebrews 13:12. She wrote the poem one night while sitting up with her sick daughter. Her lyric is a simple but compelling telling of the Gospel:

There is a green hill far away,
Outside a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiv‚n,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to Heav‚n,
Saved by His precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has He loved,
And we must love Him, too,
And trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.

-- Cecil F. Alexander, 1847

Under the mercy of Christ,


P.S. My book, Cleansing Fire, Healing Streams: Experiencing God's Love Through Prayer is available at Amazon.com or Adventistbookcenter.com. My book, Grace at 30,000 Feet and Other Unexpected Places can now be purchased by sending a check or money order for 10.00 USD, inclusive of price and shipping, to Kent Hansen, 601 South Main Street, Corona, California, 92882.


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