This post is an adaptation from the book of
“We Will Blossom in Eternity”
written by M J Jacob, Trichy,
and published by Light of Life Publications, Mumbai
The author in this post brings out some of the misconceptions prevailing among Christian believers
about some of the famous spiritual songs in English and in Malayalam.
M J Jacob is a well known Christian writer
who regularly writes for several Christian Publications
like ‘Light of Life’, ‘Confident Living’ etc.
Read more about the author at the bottom of this post.
ROCK OF AGES, CLEFT FOR ME
M J Jacob, Trichy
As I travel towards Eternity, I often wonder if our present day churches address this vital truth of the Christian faith – the resurrection and the glorious life beyond. It is sad to see that many preachers and faith healers fail to help people overcome the fear of death. Isn’t it the duty of the church leaders to educate members on what the Bible teaches about the believers’ resurrection and entry into eternal glory? The Lord in His farewell discourse (John 14) told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. Our Lord who won the victory over death, wants every follower of His to enter the mansions He has prepared for them. He wants us to use this mortal life as a preparation to spend our days in Eternity. We are meant for Eternity.
A few years ago, my college-going niece visited me. Observing her religious fervour, I shared with her some of my experiences. I found her to be receptive. Then I asked her a question, “How do you like the hymn: Rock of Ages, Cleft for me?” She shuddered and told me, “Appacha (Grandpa), don’t mention that song. It makes me afraid.” Like her, many Christians are allergic to this hymn. One of the best known hymns in English, it has been described as one that meets the spiritual needs of all kinds of people in varied circumstances. It is surprising that the Churches have categorised this song to be sung only for bereavement and at funeral services. Some other resurrection hymns that the church has set apart for the funeral are ‘Forever with the Lord’, ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus’, etc. If these hymns are frequently used in Sunday services, prayer meetings and family worship, the allergic feelings can give way to hope, faith, courage and confidence.
“Samayamam radhathil njan swarga yatra cheyyumbol.
I recall an incident that happened about four decades ago. I was staying for a night in the house of a close relative. The head of the family was a godly man. Early morning, he woke up every member of the family to join him in the central room. It was too early. With much reluctance I got up from my bed and joined in their prayer. The father started to sing a beautiful inspirational song in Malayalam “Samayamam radhathil njan swarga yatra cheyyumbol. ** Though an inspirational song, it has been labelled as a funeral song. The author of the song, inspired by the Holy Spirit, sings as follows, “When I travel in the chariot of time and take the heavenly journey, how I yearn for my own eternal native place!” As soon as the husband started to sing, his wife shouted from the bedroom, “Have you no other song to sing in the morning?” The husband tried to convince her, but what followed was argument. Finally, the morning prayer ended with a quarrel!
Yerusalemen imbaveede, eppol njan angu vannu cherum
Two decades ago, I was invited to preach in a Malayalam congregation for the Sunday morning worship service. The Pastor was away. I gave the song numbers I selected to the Secretary before the commencement of the service. The topic of my message was on the resurrected life. The song that I selected was an inspirational Malayalam song, “Yerusalemen imbaveede, eppol njan angu vannu cherum!” (0, Jerusalem, my house of joy, when will I reach there!). No Sooner I mentioned this song, the secretary’s wife screamed, “O, this is a funeral song. This song should not be sung for the church worship.” I was disappointed and felt sorry for them.
Fear of Death
The church should sing all such immortal songs regularly and not reserve them for funerals alone. Sermons, with emphasis on the assurance of salvation and hope of eternal life, should be delivered frequently. Pastors and lay leaders should strive to convince the members that our faith is not a myth; that Jesus Christ is real and that He is the rock of our salvation. Death is a fact of life, but for the Christian it is only a key that unlocks the door to the eternal Kingdom where we are going to reign and serve forever. It will certainly help the members monitor their lives and overcome the fear of death. There is no room for fear when we fully believe in the certainty of the new Kingdom that awaits us. Hear what M R De Haan says, “Jesus redeemed us by dying in our stead. In Him we died and rose from the dead. No longer is death a thing that should be dreaded. The old is behind us. The new is ahead.” John Walker in ‘Hope for the despairing’ encourages us in our earthly journey. “Our whole faith rests on the historical fact of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Try to take it away, try to explain it away and what are you left with? A mere disappearance of men from earth without knowing God! You may have a cold morality but you are not having the dynamic Christian living.” The church should convey the dynamic message of resurrection and life after death.
Rock of Ages Cleft For Me – Music Video
Toplady’s ‘Rock of Ages’ is also a hymn that helps, inspires and strengthens a Christian in adverse circumstances. John McNicol has written about a never to be forgotten experience in his early life. His father owned a farm. The crops were ready for harvest. they fixed a day to reap the harvest. They were expecting a rich harvest which would help them go through the days of struggle. Unfoutunately, the night before the planned day of harvest, there was a hailstorm which caused heavy loss and damage in the neighbourhood. Early morning, the father woke up his son and said, “Son let us go and see what has happened to the crops.” As they approached the farm, they could see that their crops were utterly damaged. There was devastation all around. McNicol thought that his father would break down seeing his crops. “I cannot forget the scene,” McNicol says. “Dad took quick steps forward through the desolated field and began to sing in a loud voice Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. In all my life I will never forget my father’s reaction. My Dad’s immediate response of faith at the time of calamity, infused faith in me.” He learned a precious lesson which helped him to face adversities with courage and strong faith. Like him, we can rest on the Rock of ages. We can rest on the bosom of our Lord. He will give us songs in the night. How inspiring is this hymn of faith! Shall we sing with joy the last stanza of this immortal song?
While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyelids close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.
About the Author:
M. J. Jacob served the Indian Railways for 37 years. At the time of his retirement, the Lord gave him the vision to involve in Christian literature ministry which he did for 32 years. Now in his 95th year, he continues the golden ministry, although at a slower pace. He is a lay preacher and has authored five books. This is his sixth volume.
He writes passionately about his own experiences as well as those of a few godly saints who have tasted God’s goodness in the midst of painful adversities of this life. He says, “When I look back over the 94 years of my pilgrimage, I have reasons to thank God for the wondrous interventions in my life. His divine touch made me whole during my sicknesses; His hands protected me in times of danger and accidents…” An inspirational book, We Will Blossom In Eternity will encourage Christian pilgrims in their journey on the ‘narrow path’ that leads to a glorious life in eternity with the Lord. Other titles by the author: Who Plucked the Flower? (ELS/ Chennai) The Jesus I Tasted (Reji’s Publications, Tiruchi) Life Lines from the Cross (UESI/ Chennai) My Dungeons Flamed with Light (Light of Life, Mumbai) Another Flower is Plucked (Light of Life, Mumbai)
Source: M J Jacob, Trichy, Light of Life Publication, Mumbai
Video Credit: Ganamrutham
സമയമാം രഥത്തില് ഞാന് സ്വര്ഗ്ഗയാത്ര ചെയ്യുന്നു **
എന് സ്വദേശം കാണ്മതിനു ബദ്ധപ്പെട്ടോടീടുന്നു
ആകെ അല്പ നേരം മാത്രം എന്റെ യാത്ര തീരുവാന്
യേശുവേ! നിനക്കു സ്തോത്രം
വേഗം നിന്നെ കാണും ഞാന്
രാവിലെ ഞാന് ഉണരുമ്പോള് ഭാഗ്യമുള്ളോര് നിശ്ചയം
എന്റെ യാത്രയുടെ അന്ത്യം ഇന്നലെക്കാള് അടുപ്പം
രാത്രിയില് ഞാന് ദൈവത്തിന്റെ കൈകളില് ഉറങ്ങുന്നു
അപ്പോഴും എന് രഥത്തിന്റെ ചക്രം മുന്നോട്ടായുന്നു
തേടുവാന് ജഡത്തിന് സുഖം ഇപ്പോള് അല്ല സമയം
സ്വന്തനാട്ടില് ദൈവമുഖം കാണ്കയത്രെ വാഞ്ഛിതം
ഭാരങ്ങള് കൂടുന്നതിനു ഒന്നും വേണ്ട യാത്രയില്
അല്പം അപ്പം വിശപ്പിന്നു സ്വല്പ വെള്ളം ദാഹിക്കില്
സ്ഥലം ഹാ മഹാവിശേഷം ഫലം എത്ര മധുരം
വേണ്ട വേണ്ട ഭൂപ്രദേശം അല്ല എന്റെ പാര്പ്പിടം
നിത്യമായോര് വാസ സ്ഥലം എനിക്കുണ്ടു സ്വര്ഗ്ഗത്തില്
ജീവവൃക്ഷത്തിന്റെ ഫലം ദൈവപറുദീസായില്
എന്നെ എതിരേല്പാനായി ദൈവദൂതര് വരുന്നു
വേണ്ടുമ്പോലെ യാത്രക്കായി പുതുശക്തി തരുന്നു
ശുദ്ധന്മാര്ക്ക് വെളിച്ചത്തില് ഉള്ള അവകാശത്തില്
പങ്കു തന്ന ദൈവത്തിനു സ്തോത്രം സ്തോത്രം പാടും ഞാന്
ENGLISH VERSION **
In the chariot of the time
I am on my homeward journey
Running,striving all my waty to..
see the land of my own
I will be reaching to its end
When I wake up at the daybreak
I am blessed and fresh new day..
For the end of all my voyage
Is closer than yesterday..!
While in peacefull night of sleep
I rest upon the arms of God
Still my chariot wheels keep rolling
Straight forward my Sweet Homeland.
It’s no time to seek the pleasures
of this world and for the flesh
Look upon the face of God there,
at my home, that’s all I want..
Nothing needed on my journey
that makes it so cumbersome
Just some water, just a li’l bread
For the thirst and hunger’s sake!
What a beauty is my homeland,
How sweet is my Lord’s reward..
No I dont want this world’s glory
this is not my real home! .
I do have my home eternal
By the shore of Paradise
Tree of life with fruits the sweetest
Standing by my window’s side..
Angels waiting all my way long
Welcome me to my own home
Refresh my strength, restore my soul
Meet my needs till I’m home there!
I will praise God, forever more
For He made me heir of this
Glorious portin, life eternal
With His saints, though I was dead!!
CREDITS for the ENGLISH lyrics: www.holypal.com
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