Hymns & Songs

Revisit the meaning of Christmas

Dec 2011    

Meekness and Majesty

Meekness and majesty, manhood and Deity
In perfect harmony, the Man who is God.
Lord of eternity dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility and washes our feet. Refrain

Refrain: (All)
Oh, what a mystery meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship, for this is your God.

Father’s pure radiance, perfect in innocence,
Yet learns obedience to death on a cross,
Suff ering to give us life, conquering through sacrifi ce,
And, as they crucify, prays, “Father, forgive.” Refrain

Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible,
Love indestructible in frailty appears.
Lord of infi nity, stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity to the heights of his throne. Refrain

Text and Music: Graham Kendrick

THREE WEEKS FROM NOW we will be celebrating Christmas! It is the time when we commemorate God’s coming to us, uniting with us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Laurence Stookey, in his book Calendar, refers to Christmas as the “GREAT EXCHANGE”. Exchanging of gifts, cards and visits – these are the exchanges we observe – “but none of these come close to the exchange of God the divine becoming human”.

The Great Exchange is the mystery that Graham Kendrick is talking about in his song. is is the text that is proclaimed on Christmas: John 1:1-14 “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God … ”

Kendrick helps us to revisit the meaning of Christmas in this song. Read the lyrics again. They are full of paradoxes!

• Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, did not come with a big bang but quietly in a lowly manger.

• The Lord lives with us. He is our Lord but in humility, He kneels and washes our feet. Would an ordinary leader have that kind of humility?

• Jesus our Lord suffered so that we may live. He was crucified and yet He prayed for us, “Father forgive!”

The use of paradox here heightens our awareness of this mystery. These expressions point us to God, the centre of the Gospel story. The song’s refrain calls us to bow down and worship God. is is God’s command (Deut 6:5, Deut 6:6-9, Deut 6:18, John 4:24).

I see three prevailing themes in the song. These are meekness, humility and selflessness. To follow Christ is to be aware of these three things. It’s a tall order but with the grace of God these attributes are possible to attain.

As to the appropriate use of this song in worship, it is suggested that it be used as a response to preaching that centres on the mystery mentioned. It may also be used on Maundy Thursday. In one worship service at the Coventry Cathedral (in the UK) where Graham Kendrick led this song, the song was done with him singing the 1st stanza, everyone singing the chorus together, women and men alternating on the 2nd and everyone singing the 3rd stanza.

I am sure that there are several carols and songs listed in our Christmas repertoire. I hope this song is on the list as well. May our souls be fed when we sing and pay attention to the meaning of the text.

Judith Mosomos is a Lecturer in Church Music at the Methodist School of Music.

New principal for Methodist School of Music

MS VENA GOH (above) has been appointed Principal of the Methodist School of Music (MSM).

She has worked in the IT industry for 18 years since graduating from the National University of Singapore, with the last seven years as the Managing Director of a South Asia operation in a multinational corporation based in the UK. She then joined the Singapore Institute of Management as a lecturer more than three years ago.

Music has wound its way through Ms Goh’s life leading up to her appointment as Principal of MSM. Her parents encouraged her and her siblings to take up piano and violin in their childhood. In secondary school, she played hymns during school assemblies as the head pianist. She studied Music as “O” and “A” Level subjects, and even put herself through university by teaching piano classes.

After a break of almost 20 years from playing the piano, she brought her daughter to the MSM for music lessons, and subsequently continued to pursue her own passion in music by preparing for the Licentiate of Trinity College London (a music diploma) in piano at the MSM.

Ms Goh was baptised at Paya Lebar Methodist Church in the early 1990s. She and her husband, Alex Chia, have an 11-year-old daughter, Amanda, and they worship at Barker Road Methodist Church.


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