Saturday, March 26, 2011

For The Sake Of The Name

    The two weeks after writing 'The Story Of My Life' have been really busy, but significant as well. As Easter approaches this year, I want to do things differently, given some new convictions that I've been mulling over since my last post. Looking back at some patterns in my life over the years, it seems to me that I've fallen into the trap of giving too much attention to Christmas, and too little attention to Easter. And it is an easy trap to fall into; at some point both believer and unbeliever have been conned into dreaming of the 'White Christmas' season on their calendars, with all the picture perfect images of snow, christmas trees, carols, presents, parties and commercial profit to boot. Easter, unfortunately doesn't seem to hold the same level of glamour; a pastor friend of mine recently remarked that far too often we wake up to the hurried realization that Good Friday and Easter Sunday are a week or two away, rush through them and then begin to look forward to other events of the year. And I've been as guilty as anyone else of being too complacent in this matter, when in truth it is Easter that is the more significant of the two.

    This year, two events came together to convict me that I was going to approach things differently. First, Pastor John Neufeld kicked off Willingdon's annual pre-Easter sermon series three weeks ago, and did so with a striking message - "Suffering and Vindication". Second, I went to the second and third  talk of a three-part series at Jamie's church over the last two Fridays, titled 'Christ Has Died. Christ Has Risen. Christ Will Come Again'. Listening to the second of the two statements last week - "Christ Has Risen", wheels began turning in my head of what I wanted to do differently.

    Then, last Sunday, Pastor Jonathan delivered a convicting sermon titled 'Powerful Words' covering the passage of John 18:12-27. It was a sermon that refreshed and encouraged me deeply, as I had come into church feeling somewhat frayed and dry, and wanting to draw close to God in order to find rest and comfort. In the course of the sermon, Pastor Jonathan made a point that a sense, the person of Christ is on trial in many places today, just as he was those many years ago. And that if we would be true and faithful disciples, we are called to follow Him in there - university classrooms, government, educational systems, law courts, and many others, with a willingness to affirm the identity we possess in Him as Christians when asked by seeker and skeptic alike, the same question put to Peter: "Who are you?"

    Reflecting on the sermon, I thought of all that I have written about my convictions since the beginning of this year. Recalling an unfinished poem that I wrote sometime during November of last year, around the time of the Passion Vancouver concert, I found it, finished it and thought I'd share it here.

For The Sake Of The Name
(by Kevin Thomas)

For the sake of The Name
Lord God, I come,
For the sake of The Name
Of The Holy One

For the same of The Name
Of the Lamb that was slain,
Crucified, died and rose again

For the sake of The Name
That hung on the Cross,
Broken and bloodied,
That I might gain through His loss

For the sake of The Name
That bids me go,
To take my cross
And Him follow

For the sake of The Name
Of Him that remains
Long after my days have passed away

For the sake of The Name
To humbly bow
To offer myself, here and now

For the sake of The Name
Who has known my pain,
Wept with me, bore my shame

For the sake of The Name
Of the only wise King
Who welcomed me home
With coat, shoe and ring

For the sake of The Name
Of the One who is light,
Who dispels the shadows
Of my darkest nights

For the sake of The Name
That must be hallowed
In the midst of grief and sorrow

For the sake of The Name
That owns my all,
My life, my dreams,
Great and small

Oh, The Name, The Great Name!

But what manner name is this,
That I pour my heart out like this?
'tis The Name above every name;
The Name I chase with all my might,
Forsaking all for the sake of the risen Christ.
- The Wisdom Seeker