This is an article I wrote recently for our Salvation Army publication, On Fire. It appeared in this years July 12 issue.
It was when I was at university in the early 90’s that I first came across the song Rejoice, written in 1983 by British songwriter Graham Kendrick. I loved the combination of a driving melody coupled with words that were effectively a call to Christian action. As a Salvationist, the military imagery in the chorus and verse 1 was also a winner for me personally, as I related to the image of the church as an army taking up spiritual weapons. In the twenty years or so since first hearing it, I’ve had the opportunity to introduce the song to various groups of people through my ministry. I’ve even based a series of sermons on the various verses, high lighting the spiritual encouragement with in it.
My favourite parts of the song are the chorus and the second verse. The chorus call us to celebrate the fact that we have Christ living within us.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is in you
The hope of glory In our hearts
He lives! He lives! His breath is in you
Arise a mighty army We arise
It reflects on the miracle of God’s presence through his ‘breath’ or his ‘holy spirit’. As a consequence of this we have a bright future as part of God’s eternal kingdom and a part to play in the redemption of the world. This truth must be something that causes us to rejoice and something that mobilises us to carry out God’s purposes in the world around us.
God is at work in us His purpose to perform
Building a kingdom of power not of words
Where things impossible by faith shall be made possible
Let's give the glory To Him now.
The second verse drives home the point that God dwells in us in order for us to work with him. The work he has for us is something that is active, miraculous and not merely theoretical. It talks about ‘building a kingdom of power not of words’. As his ‘army’ we are seeking to bring others to Christ and to put his law of love and justice into action in our sphere of influence. Following Christ is not a passive past time but a dynamic lifestyle that calls us to impact the world around us. The song urges us to ‘rejoice’ at the knowledge that we are an empowered, transformed people, equipped by God to carry out his purposes.