Sometimes the worship of God is most deeply expressed in a pause. Because of its semantic connection to other religions, meditation is mostly considered a bad thing in the Christian community. However, we shouldn’t run from the simple practice of deep reflection upon the weight of God’s truth. For me this has become a tremendous help for worship when I consider one of the weightiest songs in the hymnal, Nothing But the Blood.
Each line of the first verse offers a disturbing question; one that cannot be ignored:
“What can wash away my sin?” “What can make me whole again?
These questions assume a lot. First of all, they assume that we have sinned against God, and that, in order to be whole again, this sin must be washed away.
I believe that this is a proper place to pause and reflect. Consider your options. What can wash away your sin? What can restore you to fellowship with God that is as sweet as what Adam had in the garden? Money? Family? Church? Helping the less-fortunate? That’s not what the song says. Instead, it begins by putting us in our proper place:
We don’t want to pause here, but perhaps we should. NOTHING. There is nothing on this earth that can save you from eternity in Hell; nothing that can make you righteous before God. Absolutely nothing! Ephesians 2 tells us that, left to our own resources, we are “dead in sin” (verse 1) and “without hope” (verse 12).
Thankfully, the song continues…
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
“What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
After reflecting on our options (or lack thereof) we can now see that God has done the impossible. He has replaced our morbid future with hope. He has shined light into darkness. Christ, by his blood, has washed away our sin by his obedient, sacrificial death; he has made us whole again by his perfect, righteous life.
It is after this meditation that we can cry out with the hymn writer:
Oh! Precious is the flow / That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know / Nothing But the blood of Jesus
Grace and peace,