SoundtrackSome of us can name a specific memory from childhood. One I recall is learning every verse to There is a Green Hill Far Away. The words, written in 1848 by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), have been stuck in my head since I was 4 years old. This verse in particular always left me feeling a mix of guilt and pressure to love him back:

O dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.

Others have memories from our adulthood, like the people I met last night at the 6TEN Recovery Worship at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire. Those of us in attendance left with an image of Jesus at The Table of Grace.

Christian leaders everywhere need to recognize how the songs they choose influence the “Jesus” people know, from our youngest children to adults who take a chance and show up to worship for the first time. Everyone who has the privilege of choosing music must consider more than whether the song is beloved by our dear members or if it is sing-able or theologically correct. I very rarely use the word must but I mean this – we must ask what picture is painted by the words to the song. Those words get stuck in our heads and return to us in the dark moments when we search for a God who loves us even though we feel unlovable; a God who can see the bright spots in our life when no one else can.

So I invite you to ponder these words as you listen to The Table of Grace.

The Table of Grace – Song by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Hear the good news, you’ve been invited
No matter what others may say
Your darkest sins will be forgiven
You will always have a place

At the table of grace, the cup’s never empty
The plate’s always full, and it’s never too late
To come and be filled with love never ending
You’re always welcome at the table of grace

So come you weak, and heavy hearted, and heavy hearted
Don’t try to hide your earthly scars
For in His eyes, we all are equal, yes, we are
Don’t be afraid, come as you are

At the table of grace, the cup’s never empty
The plate’s always full, and it’s never too late
To come and be filled with love never ending
You’re always welcome at the table of grace

So let the first become the last
Let the poor put kings to shame
Their willing hearts will be their treasure

By the power of Jesus’ name, Jesus’ name