The Seventh Word: “Father, into your hands…” (April 6, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time. (Luke 23:44-46; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: last week and during this Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write and one hour to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “How I’m Designed,” my response to Jesus’ seventh word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
You wrote your word on my heart but then,
Lord, I forget at times I bear your good news;
Stick to my net and fail to fish for men.

There’s so much dross and it clutters my heart,
And yet the loss of that stuff is naught
Because I know the love of Christ surpasses
All things below, and everything I’ve got.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –

To function best when I empty myself,
To take my rest in your love each day;
And in my choice between what’s right or easy,
I hear your voice: God, help me to obey.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –

To show your grace to each person I meet,
To see your face in the poor and lost.
And when I choose to turn my back to cruelty,
Help me to lose my will no matter the cost.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –
To take your hand and notice how I shine.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you designed me to fulfill your purposes in this world. Help me to let go of my own will so that I can embrace yours, which leads to freedom and joy. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

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