Lenten Theme Hymn: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," ELW 332
1I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting-place,
and he has made me glad.
2I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
3I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till trav'ling days are done.
Text: Horatius Bonar, 1808-89 (Public Domain)
I grew up in a loving, devout Mormon home, which gave me gifts of community, hard work, and commitment. But one significant Mormon teaching is that we are saved by obedience; this made me hyper-aware of my flaws. From childhood, I felt sure I would never be acceptable to God.
I carried this anxiety through college until one day I heard a Christian theologian say, "I'm a Christian because I know enough of my deficiencies to be devastated. I don't think I could live without forgiveness and the love of God." I'd never heard anyone express their reliance on God's grace so directly. I turned to Christ to see if he could forgive and love me too. To my delight, he could—and the experience turned my despair into joy.
Luther said: "Christ our Lord, to whom we must flee, and of whom we must ask all, is an inexhaustible well of grace." From this well I thirstily drink again and again.
Lord Jesus, remind us that you freely give living water. Teach us to drink in your grace. Amen.