Sunday, October 10, 2004

October 10, 2004

8:31 PM This morning I preached on the parable of the lost sheep from Luke 15:1-7. A generation ago we used to sing a hymn called The Ninety and Nine. The CyberHymnal tells the story behind the hymn:

Sankey spotted these words in a British newspaper while on an evangelism tour in Scotland with Dwight Moody. He tore the poem from the paper, put it in his pocket, and forgot about it. Later that day, at the end of their service in Edinburgh, Moody asked Sankey for a closing song. Ira was caught by surprise, but the Holy Spirit reminded him of the poem in his pocket. He brought it out, said a prayer, then composed the tune as he sang. Thus was born “The Ninety and Nine.” This was Sankey’s first attempt at writing a hymn tune.

You can still find the hymn in older songbooks, but not in the newer ones. I had the words in my Bible, but ended up not using them. The five verses tell a powerful story. Those who know the tune will find themselves singing along as they read the words: There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold. But one was out on the hills away, Far off from the gates of gold. Away on the mountains wild and bare. Away from the tender Shepherd’s care. Away from the tender Shepherd’s care. “Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine; Are they not enough for Thee?” But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine Has wandered away from Me; And although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to find My sheep, I go to the desert to find My sheep.” But none of the ransomed ever knew How deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through Ere He found His sheep that was lost. Out in the desert He heard its cry, Sick and helpless and ready to die; Sick and helpless and ready to die. “Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way That mark out the mountain’s track?” “They were shed for one who had gone astray Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.” “Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?” “They are pierced tonight by many a thorn; They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.” And all through the mountains, thunder riven And up from the rocky steep, There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven, “Rejoice! I have found My sheep!” And the angels echoed around the throne, “Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own! Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!” 8:29 PM Kudos to Steve Wilson, ClarLyn Morris, Sofie Miller, Gwen Johnson, Ted King, and Kevin Thames for the powerful (and funny) “Four Candles” drama this AM. Lots of good lines, including “I’m reading a new book—Waxing Eloquent,” and “They’re church candles.” Well done, and a very good fit with the sermon.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?