After reading this post from Desiring God, I felt inspired to play some old hymns that I haven’t sung or played for quite a while. I couldn’t help but smile fondly at the hymnal when I pulled it from my piano bag. I remember reading some of my first words out of a hymnal like this… but this one was mine.
Without looking, I can tell this book apart from its hymnal twin in my bag, just by the feel of the cover. I have been playing out of this little book for 20 years now. I know how each page falls open and where each dog-eared hymn is. The margins are full of my notes. It is full of the songs that helped raise me. It’s been my companion at funerals and weddings, at Christmas programs and my grandma’s living room. When I play the old hymns, I hear the voices who used to sing with me harmonizing with the notes – sweet echoes from the past.
As dear as this little hymnal and the memories are to me, the words in it remind me of a deeper affection. A longing that is universal: to belong. Not just to fit in to a temporary group or fragile social structure, but to belong securely, completely, forever.
Tonight the little hymnal reminded me that I belong to one who is more constant than the most faithful companion ever could be.
Jesus my Lord will love me forever, from him no pow’r of evil can sever; He gave his life to ransom my soul- now I belong to him!
Once I was lost in sin’s degradation, Jesus came down to bring me salvation; Lifted me up from sorrow and shame- now I belong to him!
Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me, Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me; His precious blood he gave to redeem- now I belong to him!
Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me. Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.
…You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefather, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 18-19