Old Words, New Worship

I’ve been singing hymns most of my adult life and with a few notable exceptions I never cared much for them. Chalk it up to contempt bred by familiarity or the arrogance of youth but either way they didn’t reflect my words of worship.

In the presence day I’m still more likely to turn to worship styles favored by Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, and Phillips Craig and Dean. (Sidebar: Worship isn’t about us so don’t let our preferences get in the way of worship.) However, what I’ve discovered is after years away from many of these hymns I’ve found my soul now leaps through their words.


It is easy to just go through the motions of worship. Sometimes you have to strip away and step away to find fresh worship in old words.

An interpretation

“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliot, 1835

Just as I am
With no hope for tomorrow or beyond.
I cling only to the truth that you died for me.
That you stand there arms open wide beckoning me to come.

Just as I am.
Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

I’ve been shackled in this darkness long enough.
I grasp only to the power of your blood to wash me.
Cleanse me O Lamb of God.

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!

I’m tossed about as though I were asea. Life has battered me.
My ways result in conflict and frustration.
I don’t know what to believe sometimes.
I’m scared.
Scared of who I am.
Scared of where I’m going.

Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

You have promised that you will
Welcome me
Pardon me
Cleanse me
Save me.
Love me.

This I believe.

I come. Just as I am.

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I com

My apologies to this great hymn and its author Charlotte Elliot.

Take a fresh listen to this stirring and simple rendition by Johnny Cash.

May you rediscover some beautiful old words of faith that give rise to your own worship.

I’m considering doing a series of “Old Words” so if you enjoyed this post I’d love hear from you. Please leave me a comment or tweet me. I promise I won’t paraphrase very often.

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