For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Mr. Matthew Pannkuk-Chaplain, Bible Teacher
2019 here we come!
As we begin a new calendar year, I want to remind us of the focus we chose for our school year.
Our Theme for the 2018-2019 school year is “Go! Live the Story!”
The Theme Verse is I John 3:16,18. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
This year’s Theme Song is “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”
The reason we chose this song is because the power to Live the Story, as I John says, is through the love that Christ has shown to us. The power, the fuel, to Live the Story comes from accepting and experiencing True Love, which is shown to us through what Jesus did for us. We can’t lay down our lives for others if we aren’t united to the Savior who laid down his life for us. We can’t Live the Story if we don’t personally have a relationship with the Son of God who Lived the Story perfectly!
For us to Go! Live the Story!, we MUST have Christ’s Spirit in our hearts, strengthening us to Live the Story Jesus lived!
That is why we chose the Theme Song that we did, because it reminds us powerfully of the Love that Jesus gives us, the Love that empowers us and enables us and equips us to Go! Live the Story! It speaks about the Love of God that IS the Story itself!
So I thought it was fitting to begin this second semester by taking a look at this song a little bit. I did something similar for our Theme Chapel in August, as this wonderful hymn has some odd phrases and older words and I wanted the students to really understand and enjoy this song this year. Also, I want you all to perhaps see it in a more vivid and powerful light, and through this song see God’s empowering love in a more vivid and powerful light.
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
- O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow May richer, fuller be.
This Love won’t let go, and so we can rest in it when we’re dead tired, like a big comfy pillow. We owe our lives to Jesus, he paid for them with his blood. So we give it back to him by living the way he tells us to live. And what do we get when we give our life to him? A richer, fuller life. If our life is water, then on our own without God it’s shallow and dry.
But Christ has waters as deep as the ocean that can flood our lives with joy and peace and goodness. That depth helps strengthen the flow of our lives, and makes life richer and fuller and better.
- O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshines blaze its day May brighter, fairer be.
The Light of Life snuffs out Death’s Darkness. The Light follows us and is available everywhere we go, even the darkest places in our hearts. Our torch of life is weak, frail, flimsy.
If we yield to the LORD and give the light of our life back to God, which is his anyways since he gave us life, if we return the borrowed ray of light then God gives us His Light of Life, which is a blazing sun!
His Life is so much stronger and more powerful than we are! Our little light left so much dark…
but God’s light enlightens everything. With this light in us, the days of our life will not be dark and dreary, but bright and fair and light and glorious.
- O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.
The joy of the LORD is our strength, and this joy looks for you, even when you are so hurt or sad or mad that it feels so far from you. So don’t close your heart to it! Remember God’s love. Look for his good promise to you. It’s there, even in the midst of the troubles of life.
The rainbow was a promise to Noah not to destroy the world with a flood again. So even in pain or rain or trouble, we can trace the rainbow to its origin, God’s promise, and know that the promise isn’t in vain, isn’t false, wasn’t a lie. The promise will come true because of the love Jesus showed us on the cross!
The promise that Revelation 21 tells us that morn shall tearless be, meaning that one morning, the first morning in heaven, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no reason to be sad ever again!
George Matheson, the man who wrote this song, had a fiance that he was going to marry. She left him, though, because she didn’t want to live with and take care of a blind man. He was heartbroken. Later in life, one of his sisters was getting married. George was feeling lonely that his sister was leaving and he was a bit sad for his own situation. But on the day of his sister’s wedding, he wrote this song. Instead of wallowing about the love that did let him go, he praised God for the love that will not let him go!
- O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.
The Cross that Jesus died on, it lifts up our heads. Meaning when we are sad, tired, afraid, or anxious, remembering the love Jesus had and the life he gave up for us–the new life he gives us by his resurrection–those lift our heads and give us joy, peace, energy we didn’t have before. So don’t live a life that runs away from the cross! Don’t seek sin, don’t chase earthly pleasures.
We need to lay in dust life’s glory dead. Which means all of life’s glory, which are the things this sinful world says will be so great, we need to kill those things, ignore them, and bury them in the ground. Lay down in the dust all the things that promise life but don’t keep their promise, all of Satan’s lies that a perfect life, having the perfect family, having the perfect church, that all these glories are what life is ultimately all about.
Don’t believe that! Kill the lie! And bury in the dirt the dead lie about what brings you happiness and glory in this life. And where you bury those lies, where the sin you have put on the cross is laid, from that spot there will blossom a beautiful new flower.
That’s what the phrase there blossoms red means. Think of eternal life like a gorgeous flower. That flower represents new life, life that grows out of hard things, something beautiful in the midst of a harsh world.
And this new life, that endless life, it is an abundant life.
And that new life starts even in this life when you accept Jesus as LORD and Savior! It is a perfect, eternal life through our LORD Jesus Christ the Son of God, who gives us radiant, beautiful, spectacular light of life to provide us with super strength to Live His Story because of His great love!
This love will never let you go, never ever. No matter what awful, tragic, terrible thing happens to you, the LORD will not let go of his love for you. No bad thing you do, or evil thing you think, will ever cause Jesus to stop loving you.
Because God has loved you with an unbreakable, everlasting love that will never let you go, because he showed us that love by laying down his life, we too can lay down our lives, and we have the strength to love not just in word or talk, but in deed and in truth. Through the strength of the Spirit God gave to unite us all to the LORD Jesus Christ, we can Go! Live the Story!
He has shown us a Love that Will Not Let Us Go. Rest your weary soul in it.
He is a light that follows you all the way. Yield your dim torch to his sunshine’s blaze.
His everlasting joy seeks you through any and all pains. Don’t close your heart to it.
The Cross lifts up your head. Do not dare to flee from it.
Go! Live the Story of God’s love for you, live a life of love because he has given his life in love for you.
Twin Oaks Christian School, a ministry of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church