I love many of the old hymns. The ones I most appreciate are those for which much thought was put into the lyrics. One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount.” Here are the lyrics:
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 that I need to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. This transformation is what the author of Come Thou Fount has in mind. Phrases like “tune my heart,” “by thy help I’m come” and “bind my wandering heart” speak to the need for God to transform me.
This morning I attended a Men’s breakfast where the speaker talked about prayer. As he was speaking, I thought about this need for transformation and how this should be the first thing for which I pray. Perhaps this is why my favorite prayer recorded in Scripture is, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
Now on to one of my pet peeves. I notice that in the last few years when “Come Thou Fount” is sung in churches the lyrics of the first verse have been changed. Instead of saying “Praise the mount” the lyrics have been changed to “Praise the name.” While this seems innocuous, I think it actually does violence to the meaning of the song. The mount to which the author refers is Mount Calvary, without which the transformation is not possible. If we take the cross out of the song, from where will the transformation come?
It is precisely because Jesus died and rose again that I can have hope to be other than I am. For what could I pray if there was no hope that my sin has been conquered? For what could I pray if Jesus did not rise and demonstrate that sin and death are vanquished? What hope have I without the Cross and the empty tomb?
But he did go to Mount Calvary and the tomb is empty, therefore I can be transformed.