The Worship Quote of the Week for (12/27/2005):

Cradle, Cross, and Empty Tomb
Have you noticed how many of the great Christmas hymns draw attention to the cross of Christ? Do you think this is odd—a bit morbid, perhaps? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is another by the New Testament scholar and Bible translator J. B. Phillips. The author reminds us that the historic Christian faith hinges on the reality of the empty tomb.

It is, of course, impossible to exaggerate the importance of the historicity of what is commonly known as the Resurrection. If, after all His claims and promises, Christ had died and merely lived on as a fragrant memory, He would only be revered as an extremely good but profoundly mistaken man. His claims to be God, His claims to be Himself the very principle of life, would be mere self-delusion. His authoritative pronouncements on the nature of God and Man and Life would be at once suspect. Why should He be right about the lesser things, if He was proved to be completely wrong in the greater?

— J. B. Phillips, YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL: A GUIDE FOR BELIEVERS AND SKEPTICS ALIKE, New York: MacMillan & Co., 1953. The recent paperback version is available, Touchstone, 2004, ISBN 0743255097.


Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
—William Dix, from “What Child Is This?” CHRISTMAS CAROLS NEW AND OLD, 1871

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
—Charles Wesley, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” HYMNS AND SACRED POEMS, 1739

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.
—John Hopkins, 1857 “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

Matthew 20:28 — “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

John 10:11 — "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Romans 5:8 — God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:4 — We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

1 Peter 1:3 — Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Have a great week.
“Let every heart prepare Him room.”

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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