Monday, 25 February 2013

Just as I am

Yesterday we had our quarterly “Songs of Praise.” Eight members of the congregation chose Christian songs or hymns which were special for them. Hugh was sometimes able to add some of the background of the hymn and its music. And then we sung them. One hymn chosen was Charlotte Elliot’s “Just as I am, without one plea.”

It had an interesting background as Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871) came from a strongly Christian family, with a vicar as a father and a grandfather who was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society, and a member of the “Clapham Sect.” Its members were not only committed to making the Christian Gospel better known but also to changing society in a way that would please God. Members included William Wilberforce, whose life was committed to ending the slave trade.

Immersed in this Christian background, Charlotte Elliot once experienced a long and restless night in which she questioned the whole basis of the spiritual life. Was it just an illusion? Next day, she went over her faith, in her mind. The reality of realising that she was accepted by God and forgiven for sin as a result of the death of Jesus on the cross – that she could know God’s peace and look forward to his presence in heaven, flooded in.
Very shortly afterwards she penned this famous hymn:

Just as I am,
without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come.
A parent’s faith is not enough. It is important for everyone that they should know the peace of God for themselves.