The Worship Quote of the Week for (12/28/2010):

Spurgeon's New Year's Hymn
There is an important treatment update at the end of this message.

Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a reporter's colorful description of the 1870 New Year's watch night service at Charles Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle (at the time, said to be the largest congregation in the world). If you are short of time, skip down to the hymn Spurgeon wrote for the congregation to sing in the first moments of the New Year (1871).


Amongst the various public gatherings usually termed "Watch-night" services, one of the largest is that held annually at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Notwithstanding the inclement weather, and the inconvenience to many of the anniversary coming on a Saturday night, eleven o'clock found a gathering of between two and three thousand persons.

The service was commenced with prayer, Mr. Spurgeon invoking the realized presence of the Savior in the midst of his waiting people. This was followed by the hymn—

"Unto the Lord, unto the Lord,
Oh, sing a new and joyful song."

and then came the reading of the 12th chapter of Isaiah. Mr. Spurgeon observing that the new year was a marked season with believers: it reminded them of their new birth, of the time when it was with them the beginning of days, and therefore it was fitting that they should come together and praise God for all his mercies. And having know the faithfulness of the Lord during the whole of the past year, they could say with the prophet, "I will trust and not be afraid," troubling not concerning that which may be in store for this coming year, or any year, but going forward with resolute purpose and holy calm, saying, "the Lord Jehovah is my Strength and my Song." Having experience his salvation, it was meet they should bring others by "declaring his doings among the people, making mention that his name be exalted." After another song of praise beginning—

"O God of Bethel, by whose hand,
Thy people still are led."

very solemn and earnest thanksgiving was offered to God for all his benefits during 1870, and supplication made for yet a more abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit on individual believers, and upon the Church, and upon the work of the Lord in every place, that it may prosper and increase. Before the address, another joyful hymn of praise was sung—

"For Thy mercy and Thy grace,
Constant through another year."

Mr. Spurgeon said he did not think it was possible to conclude the year in a better way, either for believers, or for those were as yet in darkness, than by using the words of John the Baptist, and saying to all, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29). There was a great evil to be met—the sin of the world; there was a great remedy for this great evil—the Lamb of God; and there was a great duty enjoined—namely, to BEHOLD this Lamb of God. Sin was the source of all misery and woe, the true viper that poisons mankind, and puts everything out of joint, and this sin is only to be met and taken away by the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ. "He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin." By beholding Him, looking, believing, trusting Him, this load of guilt and wretchedness would be forever taken away. We can see the sun and the moon, although millions of miles away, and so the look of faith will reach Christ, and bring Him close to us. It was not strength or wisdom that was required, there may be no knowledge of theology, but looking to Him and trusting Him would give life eternal.

At the close of the address, and when the hands of the clock pointed to within a few minutes of midnight, the assembly knelt in silent prayer, and thus remained until the new year's morn had come, and then all rising, the following verses, composed by Mr. Spurgeon just before coming to the meeting, were sung, and then with reciprocal wishes from pastor and people for a happy new year to each and all, the congregation separated.

At midnight praise the Lord,
Ye who this temple throng;
Lift up your hearts with one accord,
And close the year with song.

Light up the altar fire,
Forget the chilly night;
Let grateful love all hearts inspire,
Praise God with all your might.

Into the coming year
March ye with banners high;
Nor in the future need ye fear,
For Israel’s God is nigh.

But march with voice of praise,
Let music lead your way;
To God the Lord your voices raise,
On this, the New-Year’s day.

— Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

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



December 29 Treatment Update

From Doris Stam — PET scan day

Today is my 56th birthday! Psalm 56:3-4 was one of my Bible readings today: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Also Psalm 62:5 — For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in Him.

Today is also the day we received PET scan results for Chip that were not good. There are spots on his liver and elsewhere, and he doesn't feel very good. The steroids have truly wasted his proximal muscles these last six months since the stem cell transplant. Now the doctors will limit the anti-rejection medications and hope that the new blood from his brother will stop the cancer. Pray that Chip's body can withstand the increased graft-verses-host that will ensue, and that the cancer can be stopped. Chip is weak, but still able to get around with his walker. Nerve damage has caused drop-foot in one leg, and makes it easy to stumble. He naps a lot, but still enjoys eating, visiting, and e-mailing!

Christmas was a very sweet time for the five of us. Michael came from North Carolina to join Martin, Clara (who both live here now), Chip, and me.

Chip remains his joyful and faith-filled self, which is a delight to us all, even with this sad news. We wait with patience and hope, and spend each morning at the cancer clinic for testing and treatment.

Thank you all for your prayers, and for your letters and words of encouragement! I have loved reading your Christmas cards. We treasure the gift from the Lord that you are in our lives.

We are so thankful, especially at this time, that Christ came to be Immanuel, God with us, and to conquer sin and death on our behalf at the cross.

In His Grace, looking for that blessed Hope (Titus 2:11-14),

Doris Stam

Chip Stam