There is an old Charles Wesley hymn written in 1739 that begins “O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace.” Written so long ago and to a different circumstance, and since it is in an old style of writing I sang it for years before ever really digging into its meaning. But this song’s intention speaks to our present in a powerful way. Think about it for a minute. Wesley is dreaming of a day when 1000 voices together would sing about God’s great glory. He wrote in his journal about that if he had all 1000 tongues himself he would use them all to sing God’s praise.
In our day and age where it seems that the name Jesus is either a curse word blurted out in frustration, or otherwise unknown or irrelevant to many, these words carry as much meaning as ever. When it feels like so few care about the love and life-giving power these words articulate, consider their sentiment. What would it be like to have so many singing about Jesus’ greatness and celebrating Jesus over and above all the other hype and empty promises of the world that promise satisfaction but leave us empty in the end. O to hear one thousand voices all in harmony singing about the glory of God!
But wait! This is a reality today in many ways. A couple weeks ago I was privileged to experience the Hillsong United Concert and worship where the Orpheum Theatre was filled to capacity (around 2500 according to their website) all singing and praising our great Redeemer. Then for the rest of that week in Atlanta at the Orange Conference I was one of over 8000 believers singing and praising our great Redeemer! And it moved the spirit to the very core.