The Suffering of His Broken Heart


Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What’s he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair.

Now, I’m no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn’t use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. When Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to break with grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.

Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The writer of Hebrews would later pen, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV)

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one.

Question: How does Jesus’ own suffering encourage you in times you suffer?

By Max Lucado


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christ is alive!

Christ Is Alive

Words: By Dr. Brian Wren

Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.

Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.

Not throned above, remotely high,
untouched, unmoved by human pains,
but daily, in the midst of life,
our Savior with the Father reigns.

In every insult, rift, and war
where color, scorn or wealth divide,
Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, where even hope has died.

Women and men, in age and youth,
can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
and find the way, the life, the truth,
revealed in Jesus, freed for all.

Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
till earth and sky and ocean ring
with joy, with justice, love, and praise.

This beautiful hymn was written by Dr. Brian Wren for Easter Sunday in 1968 just a year before my birth. This happened just 10 days after the assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Brian Wren was faced on the one hand with the devastating news of the violent assassination of the leader of the non-violent movement for Civil Rights for African Americans, and on the other a responsibility to preach the good news of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This hymn was originally titled, “The Crucified Lord.” Dr. Wren wrote it for Hockley and Hawkwell Congregational (now United Reformed) Church in Essex where he was serving as minister on that Easter Sunday.

Dr. Wren notes that “I tried to express an Easter hope out of that terrible event, in words which could be more widely applied, and wrote ‘Christ is alive!’ because our available hymns spoke of Easter as a glorious event long ago, far away, and high above.”

Indeed, it is said that the world was still trembling with despair at the time and people did not feel like singing at all. Dr. Wren looked through the hymnal but found only lyrics with “triumphal imagery of things long ago, far away, and high above.” The words seemed insufficient to the tragic realities of the moment.

Undeterred, Dr. Wren took matters into his own hands and penned the lyrics to a new Easter hymn, CHRIST IS ALIVE. It is a hymn of modern complexity, in which a suffering Jesus continues to be crucified wherever race, class, and war divide us.

The good news is that Christ is resurrected in our healing and our hope. Not bound to a cross at old Golgotha nor exiled to a remote heaven in the sky, he is alive where we live, work, and worship today.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” the Psalmist sang thousands of years ago. “Keep your eyes on the prize! Hold on!” the people sang during the Civil Rights Movement in the 20th century.

In Brian Wren’s hymn, we are urged to sing, pray, and work for the day when the world will be resurrected from the tombs of injustice, hatred, hunger, and war. We keep our eyes on the prize and dream Easter dreams in a world of perpetual Good Fridays, confident that, one day, all creation will ring with joy, justice, love, and peace. Alleluia! The cross is empty. Christ is alive! Alleluia!

Dr. Wren, now a citizen of the United States, is professor emeritus of worship at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. He has published eight collections of his hymn texts and two additional collections with his wife Susan Heafield, a United Methodist minister.

Dr. Wren’s hymns appear in virtually every English language hymnal published since 1980. He serves the church universal in many capacities including a parish minister, hymn writer and lecturer.

A hymn is a work in progress for Brian Wren. As is his practice, he has made several revisions to “Christ is Alive!” including revisions made since it was published in the UM Hymnal in 1989, but the Easter message remains the same.

One of the four leading hymn writers from England who led the way in what has been called the “hymnic explosion” of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s—and continues to this day—Dr. Wren carries a message that is often prophetic and jarring, leading some to call him the “sandpaper” of the hymn writers of his generation. While his message is disturbing at times, it is also hopeful. Christ is alive!

Couple of comments about the lyrics:                          

Stanza One: Christ is alive! Let Christians sing; The cross stands empty to the sky; Let streets and homes with praises ring. Love, drowned in death, shall never die.

Stanza one opens with a declarative and unequivocal statement: “Christ is alive!” These words declare not of a historical observance of long ago when Christ died on Calvary, but the celebration of a current event. Now Christ is Alive. He lives. This is in line with the pattern of Easter hymns throughout the ages, we always speak of the resurrection of Christ in the present tense. Christ lives forever to reign!

Another hymn writer, Charles Wesley wrote, “Christ the Lord is risen today!” Our response to the Easter event is to sing. We sing this good news in response to the songs of praise coming from heaven. Singing requires full-body participation and commitment. Dr. Wren’s opening stanza captures the sense of a cosmic event.

Stanza two: Christ is alive! No longer bound to distant years in Palestine, but saving, healing, here and now, and touching every place and time.

In stanza two, Dr. Wren clarifies that the resurrection was not for one place and time historically, but for all places and all times—“he comes to claim the here and now and dwell in every place and time.”

Stanza Three: Not throned above, remotely high, untouched, unmoved by human pains, but daily, in the midst of life, our Savior with the Father reigns.

Perhaps in response to the criticism of the church as remote from the needs and concerns of the world, Dr. Wren addresses this directly in stanza three: “Not throned afar, remotely high, untouched, unmoved by human pains. . . .” This resurrected Christ has been with us in the “midst of life” yet paradoxically “in the God-head reigns” beyond this world.

Stanza Four: In every insult, rift, and war where color, scorn or wealth divide, Christ suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, where even hope has died.

Stanza four is the touchstone for the King assassination—the place where Dr. Wren brings the resurrection into contact with human suffering as expressed in racism, war, and all of the ways that we hurt and destroy our fellow human beings. This resurrected One “suffers still, yet loves the more” in the midst of the devastation that we bring upon each other.

Stanza Five: Women and men, in age and youth, can feel the Spirit, hear the call, and find the way, the life, the truth, revealed in Jesus, freed for all.

In stanza five Dr. Wren reinforces the living presence of Jesus in every generation to every generation. God has been a shelter through all generation and all men and women, boys and girls can attest to this fact. Christ is live today and he still saves sinners as ever before.

Stanza Six: Christ is alive, and comes to bring good news to this and every age, till earth and sky and ocean ring with joy, with justice, love, and praise.

The final stanza comes full circle and refocuses us on the “good news to this and every age.” The cosmic joining of heaven and earth is explicit here: “till earth and all creation ring. . . .” The cosmos rings with the fullness of the good news of “joy and justice, love and praise.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tribute to Kalusha Bwalya


As I reflect on the Football Association of Zambia developments over the last weekend and in particular Kalusha’s FAZ presidency loss to Andrew Kamanga in the early hours of Sunday, I find myself among those that hold an un-diminishing debt of gratitude to Kalusha Bwalya for being there for Zambia when it mattered most during the darkest deep of our nation’s football story. Kalusha led from the front as it were and dragged Zambian football out of the doldrums. At the time of Zambia’s peak, Kalu was there to bring honor back to Zambia.

Until his ascension to the FAZ presidency, Kalusha Bwalya was the only Zambian to have ascended to the apex of the Zambian game with such individual honours. After many years of declining fortunes for the national team, Kalusha Bwalya inspired a new generation of Zambian players to believe that they could compete with the best in African football and they did.

I am cognizant of the stones that have been thrown at Kalu, but I also acknowledge that Kalu as anyone could have done better, but we are grateful for his contribution. He made the difference never witnessed before.

When one looks at all that is good about Zambian football, one cannot miss the hand of Kalusha Bwalya. Remember him scoring a hat-trick when Zambia beat Italy at the 1988 Olympics. See him again in 1993 after the Gabon air- disaster which wiped out almost the entire Zambia national team. Kalusha was the rallying point around which the new team was built around. When Zambia reached the first Africa Cup of Nations final and won it, it was Kalusha, then FAZ president who drew the blueprint of the Zambian success.

It is true, leaders cannot go on forever, but I wish to congratulate Kalu for his achievements during his time. I write not to mourn with those who mourn Kalusha’s FAZ presidency loss to Andrew Kamanga, but as one paying tribute to a great son of Zambia.

Kalusha Bwalya has been one of Zambia’s greatest heroes and football icons. He led FAZ with a mixture of both professionalism and humility. Even in his loss, he continues to be humble. One of the most difficult challenges for any leader is to remain humble in light of the success that the leader has achieved. When one succeeds, it inevitably leads them to greater self-confidence, especially if they inevitably over-estimate their personal role in that success. As Bill Gates once said; “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they cannot lose”.

I thank Kalu for his contributions to the Zambian football story and wish him every success as he embarks on the next chapter in his extraordinary life. Kalu will always have a home at the hearts of genuine football lovers in Zambia and I am confident that he will continue to advance Zambia’s shared goals for a better future.

Wish you the best Kalu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looking for a Medical Tourism Facilitator You can Trust?


What do you do when your most trusted local doctor tells you, there is little they can do about your health situation? Your whole entire world curves in. That is the situation many people find themselves in today. And yet, with globalization, the world has become one big village. You can now access quality and affordable healthcare from anywhere in the world. Yes, medical treatment abroad is possible at affordable rates. There are now companies that help patients access these services. They are called Medical Tourism Facilitators and they do a good job and are reliable. One such company is called Anavara and they are only one contact away.

It is no doubt that seeking medical treatment abroad can seem a daunting prospect. For many it is unthinkable and unattainable. But with Medical tourism agencies available, all things are possible. These are companies that specialize in facilitating the treatment process, taking care of arrangements such as access to clinics and specialists, travel, visas, accommodation and, in some cases, sight-seeing and leisure activities.

But one may ask, what is medical tourism? Well, Google ‘Medical Tourism’ and before you blink, about 36,000,000 results would be lined up for perusal. In precisely 0.56 seconds. Not so far in the hoary past ‘medical tourism’ was not even deemed obscure terminology. Flip through statistics and you would find it gloating about the incredible increase in international India for treatment ranging from surgery for that obdurate artery to that falcon nose that needs to be sutured to look like the one that Cleopatra had.

Walk into any in Indian hospital and you might stumble upon countless faces that look different, most even whispering their pain in a language that not many locals understand. Packing for partying in Chennai is passé, tourists are opting for a ‘healthy holiday’ in an Indian spa. Look at the peripherals and each one would justify its reasons — from language interpreters to travel agents to cabs that are needed for pick up and drop offs, glib guides for that essential sightseeing after days in a room laden with the whiff of ether. So many professionals. So many hospitals. So many etceteras so that one ailing man from a foreign land can live happily ever after. All this without blowing a hole in his wallet. Put simply, cost-effective treatment.

Cost-effective? Well, that is the catch. Along with competency, of course. That is why India and other Asian destinations are fast becoming the favourite recuperating bed for thousands from across the world. The statistics of 2015 according to a CII – Grant Thornton white paper, cost is a major driver for nearly 80 per cent of medical tourists across the globe and shows that India’s medical tourism market is expected to more than double in size from USD 3 billion at present to around USD 8 billion by 2020.  The majority of patients come from the US, Britain, Africa and South Asian countries. With so many footfalls and occupied beds, the coffers are spilling with crisp dollars too.

Now here is a list of benefits you can expect when using the services of a bona fide medical travel facilitator like Anavara. A reputable Medical Travel Facilitator:

  1. Will seamlessly manage every aspect of the patient’s entire medical retreat experience, from the first moment of contact, through full recuperation. They will coordinate the process and take care of the details such as flights and hotel reservations, scheduling doctor’s consultations, coordinating surgery appointments, arranging ground transportation in the destination, securely transferring confidential files — i.e. X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans, doctor’s diagnosis, etc. to the foreign affiliates.
  2. Spends approximately 20 hours, collectively as a company, to assist each patient in receiving their necessary services.
  3. Makes over 120 points of contact with each patient to ensure proper education and preparation are provided, acknowledged and understood.
  4. Has traveled to all the destinations that they offer to conduct sight inspections of the hospitals, hotels, and destination program managers on your behalf. They know and understand the true conditions of each destination.
  5. Has a strong relationship with their hospital affiliates that enable them to communicate directly with the executive staff if necessary — to escalate any issues that require immediate attention and resolution.
  6. Will quickly guide the patient’s case through the assessment, quotation, scheduling, and planning process. The MTF remains proactive throughout the entire medical tourismprocess — from first contact through complete recuperation.
  7. Will represent you and negotiate on your behalf to ensure the most current, accurate information as well as the best pricing for all aspects of the patient’s medical retreat.
  8. Uses a strong, proven operational process to best coordinate all aspects of the medical travel program.
  9. Will act as a liaison between the patient and their family and friends at home, communicating their condition throughout their entire stay abroad.
  10. Will coordinate and execute any changes that need to be made to the patient’s medical retreat, at any time during the process.
  11. Will make the communications process totally seamless. Instead of working with different cultures, languages, and time zones, you will work with people in your time zone, at your convenience.
  12. Will offer a Low Risk Guarantee, which will enable the patient (and payer) to take a “leap of faith” in traveling abroad for their medical procedure without risking excessive financial loss in the event they decide not to go through with their procedure. * This guarantee passes along to the insurance company and/or employer as well.
  13. Will provide the patient (and payer) with recourse throughout the entire process. You’re backed by an organization that has strong relationships with their affiliates and receives preferential treatment.

So if you or someone you know are looking for a company that can do all this for you. Anavara has multiple treatment destinations and the company is in a position to offer its clients a treatment location suitable for their requirement and most appropriately, budget.

If in need of more details contact


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medical Tourism Benefits and Advantages


Until recently, I paid little attention to people travelling all over the world seeking treatment. But talk of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon; ( where when one comes across some obscure piece of information– often an unfamiliar word or name– and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly), I now only see and think medical tourism.  These days, a growing number of people are discovering the benefits of medical tourism. All over the world, it is becoming common knowledge that medical tourism offers a cheaper option for receiving medical treatment without compromising on quality. India is becoming a prime medical tourism destination for Africans. Africans are of high opinion of Indian health services. Many Africans travel to India for the sake of quality treatment. India is one such country, which provides a quality treatment at an affordable price. Indian healthcare revenues stood at $45 billion in 2012 and are expected to reach $160 billion by 2017, as per the India Brand Equity Foundation’s report.


The low cost medical services have resulted in a rise in medical tourism, attracting patients from across the world. The medical tourism industry in India pegged at $1 billion per annum, growing at around 18 percent and is expected to touch $2 billion by 2015.


In this article I hope to outline the benefits and advantages of medical tourism, the reasons why people go abroad for treatment and basically, what medical tourism is all about. And should you need help on medical tourism, please get in touch and we will provide you with assistance.
Medical Tourism at a Glance

In general, medical tourism is the act of going overseas to obtain medical, treatment in another country. Medical tourism is therefore, the  movement of patients in search of skillful and affordable medical care to countries having a highly developed healthcare system. Also known as Healthcare Travel, this industry comprises of two distinct groups of people, one traveling from highly developed countries in search of affordable treatments to  and the others traveling from poorly developed and developing countries in view of absent infrastructure.​
Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee / hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. Individuals with rare genetic disorders may travel to another country where treatment of these conditions is better understood. However, virtually every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care, rehabilitation and physiotherapy are available.


India is growing as a preferred destination for medical treatments with an increasing number of patients visiting various Indian hospitals for the required treatments. Advantages for medical treatments in India include reduced costs, availability of latest medical technologies, and growing compliance on international quality standards. With a large number of foreign students studying in India, language interpretation too does not come as a hinderance for international patients.


With a focus on international patients, hospitals in India now have dedicated patient managers to attend to the requirements of these patients, ensuring that they receive maximum care and comfort while undergoing treatment in India. Services being provided include personalized transfers, city tours, currency exchange at the doorstep and butler and concierge services.

More people are opting to receive medical treatment abroad rather than in their own countries because:

  • Certain medical services are not available in their country of residence.
  • Their health insurance does not cover the full cost of a procedure.
  • Most people are unwilling to compromise their health just because the treatment costs are too high.

Why People Go Abroad for Treatment

The popularity of obtaining medical treatment overseas is influenced by several factors. People seek medical treatment abroad because:

  • The costs of healthcare in developed nations have increased exceedingly.
  • Nowadays, international travel is trouble-free and reasonably priced.
  • Global standards of care and technological advancements in healthcare are rapidly improving all over the world.
  • Improved communication opportunities make it easier to find and contact medical centers overseas.

Another factor to consider is health insurance. People without health insurance, or with a limited insurance policy, are more likely to seek other options such as medical tourism. As the price of healthcare services increase, the range of treatments and procedures that the health insurance policies cover decreases. The deductibles from a person’s health insurance may turn out to be more expensive than the price of going overseas for treatment. This is why people who simply cannot afford health insurance, choose traveling abroad as a legitimate alternative.
The Benefits of Medical Tourism
Affordability and Cost-effectiveness

The low cost of medical procedures, is the number one reason why people go offshore for medical treatments. The biggest benefit to seeking medical treatment abroad is availing of lower costs. Even when all other factors such as travel costs are taken into consideration, significant savings can still be made. Travelling to Thailand, for example, for a range of surgeries and medical procedures can result in savings of between 65 and 90 per cent on equivalent costs in the United States. Reduced costs of up to 80 per cent are possible in Malaysia. Open heart surgery in the United States can cost up to $324,000 yet it can cost as little as $8,000 in India.

Due to the low prices of medical procedures and surgery abroad, some people worry that medical tourism might be fraud or a scam. The main reason behind the low prices of medical treatments abroad is the low cost of labor in the popular medical tourism destinations.

Although the treatments are cheap, in most cases surgical procedures are performed by well -trained experts who are using top notch technology. In addition, the lower costs of malpractice, insurance and administration also contribute to the low prices of overseas medical procedures.

High-Quality Healthcare

Many of the doctors and surgeons that offer healthcare services to international patients are trained and certified in Western countries, such as United States and Great Britain.

Medical centers all over the world have acquired accreditation from well-known international organizations such as JCI, JCAHO and ISO to express their dedication to excellence.

Immediate Service

Another advantage of medical tourism is the immediate access to health care services. For those who have come from countries with public health care systems, medical tourism offers them the chance to be placed on the priority list. When dealing with matters of health, waiting is not always an option.


By choosing to have treatment abroad, typically at a private medical facility, the treatment or procedure can be arranged for a mutually suitable time. This means that there is no need to join a waiting list, as might be the case in the United States or other European countries. Not being required to wait for treatment is obviously beneficial to those suffering from serious illnesses or medical conditions for which urgent treatment will help.

Improved Flight and Communication Services

One of the benefits of medical tourism is the ease with which a procedure or course of treatment can be arranged. As the hospital or clinic requires payment in cash, there is very little paperwork to be completed. There is also no need for complex insurance forms or other administrative work to be submitted before or after the procedure. Depending on the destination, in many cases the most time consuming aspect of the journey may be arranging the necessary travel documents or visa. This reduction in paperwork can help a patient plan their trip in a relatively short space of time, again benefiting those with serious illnesses.


Most procedures performed abroad can be scheduled via the internet or by phone. People have the flexibility to book flights and schedule surgery procedures from the comfort of their own home. This eliminates the inconvenience of going to the hospital or clinic for evaluations and assessments. The only time a person has to leave their house is on the day or week of the surgery, or procedure.

Travel Opportunities

Even though medical tourism is about obtaining medical care, a side benefit of medical tourism is having the opportunity to travel to another country. For some medical tourists, especially those seeking dental care, cosmetic care or wellness treatments, these can enjoy the opportunity to travel overseas in addition to receiving less expensive healthcare.


Destinations such as Thailand, India and Singapore offer patients world-class medical and recreational facilities, which is important to help recovery. Medical treatment abroad is usually purchased as a package, meaning that in some cases it can act like a mini-vacation. Bringing a partner, spouse or family members along too will help keep morale high, and also provide an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the climate, food and other attractions the destination country has to offer.


The concept of medical tourism is appealing to anyone who is interested in high quality and affordable healthcare. The medical tourism phenomenon is gaining popularity and the number of people going abroad for treatment increases rapidly every year.

With many medical tourism benefits, advancements in technology and improvements in healthcare standards within developing countries, it is likely that the advantages of medical tourism will provide a striking economical solution to many healthcare problems.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Golden Age of Hymns: Did You Know?


Charles Wesley wrote 8,989 hymns (at least three times the output of poet William Wordsworth). Dr. Frank Baker calculated that Charles Wesley wrote an average of 10 lines of verse every day for 50 years! He completed an extant poem every other day.

John and Charles Wesley published 56 collections of hymns in 53 years.

“Amazing Grace”—Americans’ favorite hymn according to the Gallup Poll—was written by the former captain of a slave ship. That “wretch,” John Newton, eventually became an Anglican minister and worked to abolish the slave trade.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was originally written as “Hark! How All the Welkin Rings” (meaning “how all the heaven rings”). Thankfully, Charles Wesley’s popular Christmas carol was changed by his friend George Whitefield, the famous evangelist who sparked America’s Great Awakening.

Charles Wesley was an accomplished field preacher, who on occasion addressed crowds of 10,000 and 20,000 people. He experienced considerable opposition, sometimes from rock-throwing mobs. In fact, his well-known hymn “Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim” was written “to be sung in a tumult.”

Eighteenth-century hymnbooks were usually only collections of texts—they did not include musical notes. The first American hymnal to join tunes with texts was not published until 1831.

The usual method of singing in church was by “lining out”—having a leader say one line, and the congregation repeat it. (This was done because hymnbooks were expensive, and many worshipers could not read.) People did not sing one line immediately after another, as they do now.

The singing of hymns was not officially approved in the Church of England until 1820.

Isaac Watts, who wrote such well-known hymns as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “Joy to the World,” was an accomplished writer in many areas. He wrote a textbook on logic that was used at Oxford. His children’s hymnal may be the most popular children’s classic ever published. Alice in Wonderland parodied some of its hymns (for example, “Tis the Voice of the lobster, I heard him declare.”)

John Wesley’s first two published books of tunes included only a melody line, because he held serious doubts about the propriety of singing in parts.

Throughout Charles Wesley’s life, his Methodist companions sang none of his hymns in Sunday worship. (Throughout Wesley’s lifetime, Methodists stayed in the Anglican church, which did not employ the new hymns in worship. Wesley’s hymns were sung in informal Methodist gatherings during the week. )

William Cowper, who wrote a classic hymn on God’s providence—“God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform”—tried a number of times to commit suicide. He suffered from mental illness.

Many early hymns contained more than a dozen stanzas. Charles Wesley’s “Soldiers of Christ, Arise,” for example, originally boasted 18 stanzas. Brother John Wesley included only 12 of these in his 1780 hymnbook—and he divided them into 3 separate hymns.

In eighteenth-century England, many hymns contained rhyming words that no longer rhyme today. For example, join could rhyme with divine or thine; andconvert could rhyme with art.

The first hymnbook of the Wesleys was published not in England but in America (in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1737). And it contained no texts by Charles Wesley. For his effort, John Wesley was “arraigned before a grand jury for altering authorized psalms and for introducing unauthorized compositions into church services.”

Peter Böhler, who helped lead John and Charles Wesley to experience conversions, once said, “If I had a thousand tongues, I’d praise Christ with them all.” Charles Wesley expanded this stray comment into lines that became the well-known hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

Augustus Toplady, who wrote the famous hymn “Rock of Ages,” called John Wesley a “tadpole in divinity.” Wesley in turn called Toplady “the most rancorous hater of the gospel system.” Nevertheless, in Toplady’s 1776 hymnal, “Rock of Ages” stood next to Charles Wesley’s “Jesu, Lover of My Soul.”

There is evidence that Toplady plagiarized his most famous hymn (“Rock of Ages”) from his opponent, Charles Wesley!

Isaac Watts’s collection of psalms and hymns was still selling as many as 60,000 copies per year over 100 years after it was published. His Psalms of David went through 31 editions in its first 50 years, including a 1729 reprinting issued by Benjamin Franklin.

Augustus Toplady wrote 6 hymns; William Cowper wrote 68; John Newton wrote 280; Philip Doddridge wrote around 400; and Isaac Watts wrote 697. But Charles Wesley wrote 8,989.

Though not usually known for writing hymns, John Wesley did write several original hymns, and he translated many from German.

John Wesley often severely edited his brother Charles’s hymns, both for length and theology. When Charles wrote “Thou didst in love Thy servant leave,” John wrote in the margin, “Never!”

Dr. James Townsend is Bible editor at David C. Cook Publishing Co. and author of eight volumes in The Bible Mastery Series (Cook).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Did We Get The Doxology?


A doxology (Greek: δοξολογία, from δόξα, doxa, “glory” and -λογία, -logia, “saying”) is a short hymn of praises to God in various forms of Christian worship, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns. Here is the story behind what may be the world’s best-known hymn.

Each week, around the world, thousands of Christian congregations raise their voices in worship:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

In countless languages this “Doxology” is treasured. Yet few know the story behind these words, first published in 1709, and fewer still the life of their composer, Anglican Bishop Thomas Ken (1637–1711).

Raised by “The Compleat Angler

Thomas Ken was orphaned in childhood. He was raised by his older sister, Ann, and her husband, Izaak Walton, noted for his classic The Compleat Angler.

In 1651, Ken became a scholar of Winchester College and, in 1661, received his B.A. at New College, Oxford. Such Presbyterian schooling during times of political and religious turbulence only deepened his love for the Anglican heritage of his youth.

In adulthood, Ken held various church and academic positions. He even served as chaplain to Princess Mary until he stood firmly against, in George Crawford’s words, “a case of immorality at the Court.”

Later, Ken became chaplain to Charles II. But he would not let his house be used to lodge the royal mistress. This time, instead of being dismissed, Ken was rewarded for his courage with a bishopric.

Writing Hymns for Students

Until becoming Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1684, Ken spent most of his life intertwined with Winchester, both College and Cathedral. There the small-statured prelate, through preaching and music, sought to uplift the spiritual lives of his students.

In 1674, Ken published A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College. In it, he charged his readers to “be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber devoutly.” These hymns were, evidently, already in private circulation.

In the 1695 edition, the words to these hymns (and a “Midnight Hymn”) were published as an appendix. The “Doxology” we sing today was the closing stanza of each of these three hymns (“Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun,” “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night,” and “My God, I Now from Sleep Awake”).

In a 1709 edition, Ken changed “Praise him above y’ Angelick Host” to “Praise him above, ye heavenly host,” and the lines reached their final form. The world had gained a priceless instrument of praise.

Final Lines of a Long Hymn

Here are the first, ninth, and last stanzas of Thomas Ken’s “Morning Hymn,” which originally contained fourteen stanzas:

Awake, my Soul, and with the Sun,
Thy daily Stage of duty run,
Shake off dull Sloath, and joyful rise,
To pay thy Morning Sacrifice.

All Praise to Thee, who safe hast kept,
And hast refresh’d me whilst I slept,
Grant, Lord, when I from Death shall wake,
I may of endless Light partake.

Praise God from whom all Blessings flow,
Praise him all Creatures here below,
Praise him above, ye Heavenly Host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,197 other followers

%d bloggers like this: