This week I'll continue reflecting on some of the hymns that were submitted in anticipation of our sermon series, but that I won't be able to talk about in worship on Sunday's. This week I want to talk about "I Love to Tell the Story".
The hymn appears as #661 in the ELW (our red hymnal). The lyrics were written by Katherine Hankey, and the music by William E. Fischer. Hankey was a Christian poet, writing several long poems dedicated to the spreading of the Good News. The lyrics we have for our hymn are adapted from one of these poems.
The song consists of three verses and a refrain. The lyrics remind us of the importance of proclaiming "the old, old story of Jesus and his love" to what are essentially three different audiences: oneself, those who have never heard the story, and those who "know it best."
What I love about this hymn is that it makes the point that the gospel, the proclamation of God's love given to us through Jesus, is not and was never meant to be heard just once. Even the people who are deeply familiar with the story of Jesus need to hear it over and over again; "I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest."
I find in these words an essential Christian truth. The grace and love of God are not once and done gifts. They remain with and are given to us constantly, over and over again, day after day. People will have their lives transformed hearing it for the first time, and those of us who know it well will hunger and thirst for it from now to eternity, when we "sing the new, new song."
May we know Jesus and his love every moment of our lives.