Worship in the Midst of a Weary World

I girl windowfeel weary when I read the news these days. There’s no one I want to vote for nationally. My state is in turmoil over House Bill 2 (AKA “the bathroom bill”).  I hear stories about life on college campuses, both academically and morally, and I’m deeply concerned.  There’s so much brokenness in families, communities, and churches.  How can it not affect all of society?

I also find myself fearing what is to come. As recently as the 2008 election, every presidential nominee supported the traditional definition of marriage. Now that same opinion equates to bigotry. How long will it be before my husband and other pastors like him are arrested for hate speech, simply for teaching and preaching the truths of Scripture? Men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer once preached in Germany without fear. Within a small window of political change, that same teaching made him an enemy of the state. I wonder if we might face the same sort of cultural shifts in the next few years.

All these thoughts swirl in my head. It’s tempting to fret and worry, but lately I’ve found myself singing a different tune – literally. I’ve been returning to a song I heard for the first time last month when Keith and Kristyn Getty led worship at an RTS event. It’s on their new album (which releases June 17) and you can listen to it here, as well as read the original story behind this hymn and God’s work in China.

Here are the words to Facing a Task Unfinished:

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord*

As I read these words, I’m reminded that David wrote songs when he fled for his life (Psalm 3, Psalm 27), when he was weary (Psalm 63), and when he was fearful (Psalm 55). I’ve found that singing renews my heart, provides fresh courage, and gives me hope.

This particular song reminds me that the most significant problems we face are not our choices for president or laws that may make being a Christian increasingly difficult. The greatest challenge before us is the reality that, “unnumbered souls are dying and pass into the night.”

An eternity apart from Christ is the greatest tragedy any soul can suffer. That understanding reminds us of our daily mission and lasting hope:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Whatever circumstances we may face, Jesus reigns.  He is with us. And, if God is for us, who can be against us? Whatever happens this election season, whatever happens in the years to come, our marching orders never change:

We go to all the world with kingdom hope unfurled.

May we go out singing today.


*Original Words by Frank Houghton, Music by Samuel Wesley. New Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ed Cash, and Fionan de Barra; © 2015