I was reminded of this hymn while thinking of the Golden Jubilee of the secondary school that I attended as a young man. Choma Secondary School in Choma – southern province of Zambia was started by the Brethren In Christ Church missionaries in conjunction with the Pilgrim Wesleyan counterparts in 1962. This year on September 15th, all roads lead to Choma secondary school for the Golden Jubilee celebrations. I pray I will be in that number. I would remember how this song was almost an anthem. Today however, I thought the phrasing was unusual because we don’t typically think of “Heaven” coming down to earth. But when we realize that God’s most prized possession – His Son – came to earth, became a man, and died for our sins, and gave us access to Heaven, we realize how true this phrase is.
Couple of comments on the lyrics:
- “He met the need of my heart” – There is a great story about a particular healing in the Bible. In Matthew 9, a paralytic man was brought to Jesus. The Bible says “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” The teachers of the law were furious and thought Jesus was blaspheming. Jesus responded by saying “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” I love this story because Jesus healed the real need first – the healing of the heart by forgiving sins. As the author wrote, that is the true “need of our heart.” Yes, Jesus can heal our bodies. Yes, Jesus can heal our financial situations. Yes, I believe, Jesus can heal broken relationships. But the real need of each of our hearts is the forgiveness of sins, and He met that need on the cross 2,000 years ago.
- “Shadows dispelling” – To “dispel” means “to drive off” or “to cause to vanish.” Isn’t that what light does to shadows? When light enters a dark room, the darkness and the shadows have to leave. They aren’t given a choice. They are driven away immediately. When Jesus enters a dark place, the same is true. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Darkness has to flee when the light of Jesus enters a place.
- “of grace He did proffer” – I have to admit. I have sung this song all my life and never knew for sure what this phrase really meant. It is similar in meaning to offer, but I like the dictionary.com definition. It says proffer means “to put before a person for acceptance.” What I like about this phrase is that it reminds me that Jesus is standing at the door knocking. Jesus said in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” He is standing with arms open-wide. He is proffering His grace to the “whosoever wills.”
Is there a special memory you have about getting a gift as a child? Is there a certain morning that stands out in your memory? My kids are still young enough, especially Nomsa and Chichi, that they can’t hardly sleep the night before a great event especially travelling by air. Their hearts are filled with anticipation, and their minds are filled with the joy they are going to experience. I cannot tell why the food served on the plane sems to be the icing on the cake for them. As a parent, I just love the night before such flights because I know we are in for another memorable time with the kids. My wife Enid just can’t understand why we talk about it so much.
So let me ask you? Is your heart filled with anticipation today? Are you longing for the Second Coming of “Heaven” down to earth? Is your mind filled with the great things that God has promised His children when we all get to Heaven? I hope you are looking forward to that. I hope you are excited about that. That kind of excitement and enthusiasm is contagious, and far outweighs the excitement over material things that we sometimes experience this time of year.
HEAVEN CAME DOWN
O what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, (filled my soul)
When at the cross the Savior made me whole; (made me whole)
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day,
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! (filled my soul)
Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer, of grace He did proffer, He saved me, O praise His dear name!
Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day, when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal, from His precious hand I received.