Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 22, 2017
Worship with Charles Wesley’s Hymns
Ah, Charles Wesley. That great writer of hymns! He and his brother John were also the founders of a renewal group within the Church of England that later became the Methodist denomination.
As a church musician and lover of traditional hymnody, I have loved the Wesleys’ hymns for decades. I was excited to see Charles Wesley figure into this collection of spiritual giants, and excerpts from their writings. I read the complete, additional stanzas that Charles Wesley wrote, on the anniversary of his “second birth.” As I read this oh-so-familiar hymn, I could not but help but sing it as I read. (To the tune of AZMON, of course.)
I knew Wesley had written lots of verses for this hymn, and had even read several more than most hymnals usually print. However, this reading is the most complete I have yet seen.
He begins the first verse with praise to God. (As is perfectly appropriate.) The second verse makes mention of his anniversary! That “glad day the glorious Sun/of righteousness arose; on my benighted soul he shone/and filled it with repose.” 
I, too, feel as if my soul is benighted, sometimes. (Even after I know I have a relationship with God.) However, the third verse comes to my aid! “Sudden expired the legal strife,/’twas then I cease to grieve; my second, real, living life/I then began to live.”  Here at last I am comforted with the understanding that Jesus has, indeed, paid it all. He has cancelled the legal debt I owed, and set me free. I no longer need to grieve or be afraid.
So, then, I can sing with Christians from all over the world, for centuries, “O for a thousand tongues to sing/my great Redeemer’s praise! The glories of my God and King,/the triumphs of his grace.”  Indeed, His blood can make the foulest clean—and I believe Jesus’s blood covers my sins. Praise His name! What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus. Amen. Alleluia.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 259.
 Ibid, 260.