Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

James 4:13-16
Matthew 6:9-13
Isaiah 55:1-3
Revelation 21:5-6

Every New Year’s Eve my husband and I marvel at the crowd gathered at Times Square.  While we are cozied up enjoying the comforts of home, thousands gather hours in advance, often standing in rain or sleet, to watch the ball drop and mark a new year.

“It’s just sooo exciting”, reporters and party-goers repeat on the quarter hour. There’s a palpable energy even from across the screen. Truly, these attendees are up to their eyeballs in anticipation. As that ball finally drops, so does the tune known round the world. You’ve definitely heard it, but maybe you don’t really know it.

It’s the nostalgic piece written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. Its lesser known title, Auld Lang Syne, can loosely be translated “for the sake of old times”. The song is a celebration of old friendships, good memories, and a plea to not forget or forsake them. It’s certainly a beautiful song and sentiment. We can understand the emotion, the build-up, and the excitement that surrounds the turning of a new year, and paying homage with a song like this.  However, as good and right as it may be to celebrate these earthly gifts, the reality that always pricks my heart and grounds my soul is how much more there is than this.

More to give thanks for, more to anticipate, more to bank on, more to cherish – more to celebrate. Really, Someone to celebrate.

With similar thoughts, worship leader and song-writer Dustin Kensrue felt compelled to pen new lyrics to Auld Lange Syne as he flew home on December 31st, 2011. He explains, “The idea is that—especially at the beginning of the new year—we would dedicate all our efforts to bringing glory to Jesus Christ, to acknowledge that anything else would be of no value, and to celebrate our redemption in him.”

And my, what new life Kensrue breathed into this song with his new adaptation, All Glory Be to Christ, (recorded by King’s Kaleidoscope)! With a heavy lean on the Word of God, this new hymn ushers us into worship any time of the year reminding us to set first things first.

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive

Right at the start, Kensrue pulls from Psalm 127:1, reminding us that “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.”

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me, What is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

The second verse brings in Proverbs 27:1 “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring.” Similarly, James 4:13-14 reminds us we cannot make plans without acknowledging that in the scheme of God’s grand design, our lives are like a vapor appearing for a little while and vanishing.

His will be done, His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him, the Lord of love

Kensrue brilliantly ties in the Lord’s prayer as well as the heartbeat of James 4:15-16 teaching us to preface our every move with a submission to the Lord’s will.  The theme of these first three verses rests on humility.

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

This repeated refrain is our anthem! Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, may everything be for the glory of God! (I Corinthians 10:31)

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

The fourth verse references the sweetest invitation found in Isaiah 55. Although “cup of kindness” is in the original lyric of Auld Lang Syne, it clearly has a different meaning here which is beautiful writing! With this line, Kensrue turns our eyes to the cup of kindness our Savior offers (because He took the cup of God’s wrath upon Himself), which is intended to lead us to repentance and the fullness of life! (Romans 2:4)

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new

The lyrics come to a crescendo now highlighting a future grace where God makes all things new for those found in Jesus Christ! (Revelation 21:5-6) Now THAT’s palpable excitement!

 Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall e’er his people be
All glory be to Christ!

And so now, for the “already but not yet” living, we hold fast to the hope that God will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6Hebrews 13:5)

A beautiful anthem for this life and beyond! Whether we’re turning over the page to a new job, a new stage of life, a new responsibility, or simply a new day, may we choose to ground our anticipation in the hope of Christ, and may we step into what God is calling us towards with a determination to give all glory to Christ!

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5 years ago

I had never heard these lyrics before. So impactful!!! And makes me look forward to the next New Year’s Eve and reading THESE lyrics as we head into a new year!

Bonnie M Smith
Bonnie M Smith
5 years ago

Thank you for this, Tawnya. I have heard this song, but so much appreciate you pointing to the scripture verses connected to this.

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