In Christ Alone
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People look for hope in many places. Some look to drugs or alcohol. Some seek companionships in various forms, - respectable and not so respectable. Some just try to ignore their problems, hoping the problems will disappear by themselves. There is an endless list of places where people look; however, there is really only one place that we can look to gain strength, hope and help. That one place is in Jesus Christ.
Stuart Townend and Keith Getty wrote the song "In Christ Alone," sung here by Kristian Stanfill, to reflect and proclaim this message. Though the song is based on the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians (Phl. 3:7-11), the song relies on scriptural passages from both the Old and New Testaments.
The beginning of the first verse is from Psalm 27: "The Lord is my light and my salvation...; The Lord is the stronghold of my life..." (Ps 27:1). This very first line sums up the powerful message of the remainder of the song. Everything which follows expands and reinforces this proclamation that Christ is the cornerstone is asserted by the prophet Isaiah (Is 28:16) and both Sts. Peter (Acts 4:11, 1 Pet 2:6-7) and Paul (Rom 9:33). In fact St. Peter's assertion in front of the rulers and elders (Acts 4:11) of Jerusalem may have been the boldest of these assertions; it resulted in empty threats by the elders though no punishment was meted out at this time. The challenge to the elders displayed the awesome power of Jesus Christ acting through us. Understanding the amount of power given to us by Christ allows us to face the fiercest storms and have our fears stilled. If Jesus did this much for St. Peter, Christ will surely comfort us, if we only make him our all in all.
The second verse begins with a brief recount of Christ's burial and Resurrection. Jesus, the light of the world (Jn 8:12), was laid in a tomb after his crucifixion due to the darkness in the leaders of Israel. He rose from the dead after three days. Interestingly, findings from the Shroud of Turin suggest that Jesus IS light and did actually "burst" forth from the tomb (Shroud of Turin pp 22). His Resurrection was the final victory over sin and death - it was purchased by his bloody death on the cross.
The third verse is more of a personal reflection on the power of Christ. If we follow his teachings, we will have no guilt. We will not fear death, realizing that Christ has opened the way to eternal life. We must listen as Jesus speaks to us and guides us on our way. If we give ourselves over to him completely, he will hold us in the palm of his hand, never letting us to be taken away from him (IS 41, Is 49:16). As St. Paul stated, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31).
The song finally calls us to give our lives to Jesus. We must put our faith and trust in him. He will be our strength and hope in times of darkness. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. If we rely on Christ, he will call us home.
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