My husband and I spent the bank holiday yesterday at a family barbeque in Surrey. Given that my brother and sister-in-law live so close to us, they kindly offered to drive us there and back. It was a fun sort of road trip which included listening (and joyously singing along) to a CD of all their wedding music from a couple of years ago. They also introduced me to a song/hymn they were surprised I’d not come across before called Because he lives. Getting the hang of the tune by about the second chorus, my husband and I were soon singing along, and I’ve had it humming round my head since.
I love singing, especially in contexts of worship. I think that’s what music was made for. I get every bit as much out of singing good praise music congregationally as I do out of singing the most beautiful sacred choral music, or singing or listening to a Bach cantata (more on that soon!) because the point is the same:
I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
When we got home (after a very enjoyable day out) I did a bit of research. The song seems to be an old-style gospel number written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, who have (so his wikipedia page tells me) written some 600 hymns and songs. Because he lives is one of their better known, and I can see why, as it’s so singable and uplifting! I particularly rejoice in the line Because I know he holds the future… He is the Alpha and the Omega: how wonderful that we get to trust in that! We share in an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, which is freely given and open to all. What a hope! Here’s the text, and here‘s a rendition from youtube. Listen and sing along!
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!