Monday, November 11, 2013

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder (Strength in Hymn)

"Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder"
by John Newton
Let us love and sing and wonder,
Let us praise the Savior’s Name!
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame.
He has washed us with His blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

Let us love the Lord Who bought us, 
Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by His grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with His blood,
He presents our souls to God.

Let us sing, though fierce temptation

Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong Salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror’s crown:
He Who washed us with His blood
Soon will bring us home to God.

Let us wonder; grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles and asks no more:
He Who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God.

Let us praise, and join the chorus

Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted Him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky:
“Thou hast washed us with Your blood;
Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!”

Hark! the Name of Jesus, sounded

Loud, from golden harps above!
Lord, we blush, and are confounded,
Faint our praises, cold our love!
Wash our souls and songs with blood,
For by Thee we come to God.

You can listen to the Jars of Clay version here: Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder

Why I Picked This Hymn: That's easy! We sang it in church on Sunday, to go along with our pastor's sermon "Love and Wonder" from the book of Ruth.  Naomi, overwhelmed with widowhood, a long journey, and poverty, has lost her sense of wonder and excitement about life.  It is only after returning to Bethlehem and experiencing a sequence of "divine coincidences" that she begins to come alive once more.  Our pastor commented that it is easy to let cynicism rob us of our wonder, but that the kindness (hesed) of God, expressed through his providential care and through the hands of other people, can rekindle us. Personally, when I'm feeling spiritually jaded, the best way for me to renew wonder is to get out into God's creation.  Even looking up at the clouds in the sky when I step outside to get the mail can lift my spirits.  What takes it even deeper is to pay attention to the fascinating little details -- to notice the exquisite care he has taken to fashion each facet of his masterpieces, even the ones we brush by and take for granted.   


As in nature, we often miss the glories of God's redemption plan because we aren't paying attention.   I've been known to let my Bible get dusty on the shelf or read it so fast that I don't grasp the truth and beauty on the page.  Or I mumble a half-hearted prayer without thinking or quietly listening for an answer.    What is the answer? Take the time and the focus to read, meditate, pray, and worship.  Delight in the intricacies of his compassion.   I encourage you to go back and read this hymn line by line and let it illuminate the kindness of God to you.  The hymn was written by John Newton, the slave trader captured by the amazing grace of God. (Yes, he wrote "Amazing Grace" too!)

About the Photos: All of them were taken at Kewanee Park, just a mile or so from my house.  My son wanted to get some nature shots for his photography class, and I was more than happy to oblige, even though we'd been there just the night before at sunset.   I wore my crocs, and padded softly down the boardwalk, savoring the beauty and drinking in those details.  That's how I saw the heart in the wood grain, the funky tree with a branch like an elbow, the delicate spider's web on the curved palm leaf, the moth camouflaged like a torn leaf, all of the other shadows and patterns and textures and colors.   What a feast for the eyes and the heart!

"Let us love and sing and wonder!" 
Sunset over Kewanee Park
This post is the 24th in my Strength in Hymn series, which combines hymn texts, nature photography, and encouragement for disillusioned Christians.  Most of the posts on this blog are about hymns, but I occasionally write ones on abuse of authority in Christian families, churches, and organizations, as well as the dangers of legalism.  Would you be so kind to visit this short reflection that I wrote a week or so ago on this topic and let me know what you think?  Vision Forum and Friends: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Thank you so much!

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles


  1. Thanks for the new-to-me song. You're so right that we need to slow down and really pay attention to what God has done around us.

  2. Dear Virginia
    I have never before heard this hymn of John Newton. How beautiful! Virginia, Madame Jean Guyon used to say that if you don't chew your food, you don't get all the taste and nutrients! In the same manner our hearts should chew on a Scripture and delight in all its flavor before we swallow and move on!
    Blessings XX

  3. Virginia, thanks for sharing this hymn. I hadn't heard of this one before.