This morning as I was driving I caught the tail end of the Archers on BBC Radio 4. The programme staged briefly a dry and stereotypical Church of England service that included a hymn, To God be the glory.
This is one of the hymns that remind me of my first experiences of Anglicanism, as I think we used to sing it in my sending parish. However, I cannot hide that this is yet another hymn which I deeply dislike. The catchy tune and the easy lyrics focus on a particularly simplistic flavour of theology of the atonement with which I, as well as many other Christians, struggle in our faith journey.
The redeeming feature of this hymn is found in the chorus when it sings O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son. This is meant to be a reminder of Jesus’ words to St Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). Nevertheless, these words should also be a statement of intent for every Christian soul. If we want to come to the Father we have to go through the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. In other words, we are to conform ourselves to The person of Christ, our way of life to His way of life, and our piecemeal truths to His truth.
Saying O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son and then do nothing for the redemption of the world because someone else – namely Jesus – as taken the bullet for everyone, as it were, would be to betray the spirit of the gospel.
Through the great goodness of God, we are indeed set free by the action of Christ, but only in order that we may live out the life of Christ within us.
In this Holy Week living the life of Christ means meditating, praying ever more intensely, reading spiritual readings. It means doing all those things that connect us to Jesus and that prepare us to be imitators of the journey to Calvary; however this manifests itself in our lives. Only in this manner we will be able to say that we are going to the Father through Jesus his Son.