Hymns & Songs

Of the sacrifi cial giving of Christ for the world

Jan 2010    

Divine Exchange

My heart is captivated Lord, by You alone
captured by the awesomeness of You alone
melted by the grace and mercy You have shown
I stand in wonder.

I reach to you the one who makes the blind eyes see
who breaks the chains of sickness with authority
restoring of what was broken
so it may fl y again.

I live to worship you
I breathe to worship to you
all of my days, your face I’ll seek.

For as I worship you
You lead me to that place
To that place of divine exchange.

© 2002, Lara Martin

IN MY RECENT ENCOUNTER with this song, I was intrigued by two images in the lyrics. One, this was the first time that I have heard about the image of restoring something broken so that it could fly again.

I did a quick search on Lara Martin’s life. She is a singer and songwriter who was the former worship pastor of the Christian Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England.1 It was interesting to read of her early childhood and the development of her musical gifting.

According to her website, she received a guitar from her parents at the age of five and began writing songs by the time she was six. She writes: “I remember how excited I was when I wrote my first song … it only had three chords, D, A and G, and it was a song about a robin. I used to watch that little bird from my bedroom window and one day I began to sing a story about it. It only had four lines with a simple melody, which repeated over and over, but I was elated and surprised at the fact that I could do it and more importantly that I enjoyed doing it. I kept on making up little songs from that day onwards and got to perform them at my school and local church.”2 Might it be that this concept of making something fly comes from her early songwriting days? We will never know though that is an interesting image where the healing hands of God can make something fly.

However, more important in this song is the concept of divine exchange. What is this concept of divine exchange?

A quick search in various theological sources tells us that this exchange speaks of the sacrificial giving of Christ for the world and its resulting benefits. Through His death, we receive eternal life. Such a concept can also extend to the common notion that by Christ’s stripes, we are healed (see Isaiah 53:4-5). This exchange frees us from the bondage of guilt, fear and sin. In turn we receive God’s gift of grace, mercy and love.

However, it is important for us to remember that this divine exchange is not just for our personal benefit and well-being. Rather, this wonderful transaction ought to move us to love and worship God beyond merely paying lip service. This divine exchange presents to us an opportunity to live our lives as God intended – making a difference in this world as God’s redeemed people.

Personally, I wish Lara would elaborate on this concept of divine exchange in her song as it is an important theological concept that we need to know and remember. Without that elaboration, this song appears rather self-absorbed.

Nevertheless, now that you have learned about the concept of the Divine Exchange, I trust you will choose to go to that place just as Lara urges us to do so in her song. In so doing, may you then take a step beyond that realm and be God’s instrument to love your neighbour.

In this season of Epiphany, a liturgical commemoration of Christ’s revelation to the world, let us be mindful of our calling to be the branches of the vine of Christ, offering healing and mercy to all who have need. When we do, surely the world would get a foretaste of the Kingdom of God that is to come. In turn, it may also seek to take up this divine exchange. Certainly that ought to be our prayer and mission. Amen!

1 http://www.alm.org.uk/ accessed 23 November 2009.

2 http://www.myspace.com/laramartinmusic accessed 23 November 2009.

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The Book of Discipline 2009 is available now

THE REVISED EDITION of The Book of Discipline of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) was released recently.

The rule-book of the denomination, it is a guide for Methodist ministers, laymen and officials in their various ministries. Containing important aspects of the life of the Methodist Church, it includes its Constitution, its Doctrinal statements and General

Rules, its Social Principles and how the Church is organised and administered through its Conference structures.

Published by the Discipline Revision Commission of the MCS, The Book of Discipline 2009 is available at $20 a copy at the Administration Office of the MCS at Methodist Centre, 70 Barker Road, Level 3, tel: 6478-4786.

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