I’m haunted by an Easter song!
Admittedly, it’s not a vibrant song you’ll hear in a church during their Resurrection Day service. Recorded by Loyd Thogmartin in 1983, it has a mysterious, jazzy-blues melody and accompaniment. Which is perfect for story-telling lyrics that start with “My Lord lived a life of pain and suffering” and go on to tell about the mockery and crucifixion Jesus endured.
The minor key is even okay for the happy part of this story—you know, the part about Jesus coming back to life and defeating the power of death for all of us. (Hey, it’s extremely challenging to find a single melody and set of chords that fit perfectly for opposite emotional extremes!) The jazziness just shifts into a kind of sassiness that says, “Ha! Devil, you just thought you won, but you didn’t!”
Naturally, the end of the song focuses on Jesus being alive and on all the great healing and delivering things He did as part of the salvation process. And of course, the lyrics include the quintessential theme, “I know He lives because He lives in me!”
All this is fine and good. Until the singer repeats the last four lines of the song.
“He raised people from the dead, healed the sick
And He makes the blind to see.
My Lord lives, yes He lives, I know He lives
Because He lives in me.”
Even though I’d heard this song many times before, it unnerved me the other day. These lyrics are saying more than meets the eye!
I’ve been a Christian basically all my life and have sung the classic Easter hymn, “He Lives!” far more times than I can count. For all I know, Loyd’s final lyrics in his song were probably inspired by the last words in this old hymn: “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”
So, why do Loyd’s lyrics bother me?
Hearing again those summary statements of what Jesus did when He lived on this earth, coupled with that familiar Christian anthem that Jesus now lives within me, challenges me. And if you’ve ever declared that Jesus lives in you, then maybe you should feel a bit haunted, too!
Think about it. Jesus’s earthly life was filled with miracles, signs and wonders, and life-changing teaching. What a life!
We talk today of leaving our mark on the world, our own version of a graffiti tag to let others know we are/were here. In three short years, Jesus left a multitude of “marks” on people’s lives everywhere He went—evidence that He was indeed alive and had been there. His reputation preceded Him; people KNEW He existed!
And now, He is supposed to be living in every believer. His life is supposedly continuing on through us.
But where’s the evidence? Where are the daily miracles and the effective speaking that draws people to Jesus?
No, I don’t expect every Christian to be able to walk on water or raise people from the dead every day. But I do think there should be a lot more evidence that supports the claim that Jesus lives within us.
Evidence that speaks for itself. Even Jesus didn’t rely solely on His own declarations to prove He was/is the Messiah. When John the Baptist—imprisoned and discouraged—asked Jesus if He was indeed The One, Jesus didn’t answer with a direct “Yes, of course.” Instead, Jesus referred to His actions as His proof of identity (see Matt. 11:1-6).
Unfortunately, I’m afraid that for too many Western Christians, especially in America, Jesus isn’t being allowed to really live in and through us. If He even is living within us, then He’s been bound and gagged and locked in a closet!
And that scares me! Jesus should have free-reign in my life. And if He’s the “same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NIV), then there ought to be plenty of miracles and other evidence in my life. Is there?!?
So, when I hear this song, “My Lord Lives,” it haunts me … and I like it! Because it reminds me to examine my life for the proof that Jesus is truly and fully alive in me. It warns me against complacency that turns me into a liar. And it inspires me to always yield control of my life completely to Jesus, so that He can continue to live through me just like He did when He lived life so abundantly 2,000+ years ago!
Thanks for reading!
“My Lord Lives,” Words & Music by Loyd Thogmartin, recorded on Simple Direction, produced by Jonathan David Brown (Santa Ana, CA: Asaph Records, 1983).
“He Lives,” Words & Music by Alfred H. Ackley (1887-1960). ©1933 Homer A. Rodeheaver. Renewed 1961 Word Music, LLC (Admin. by WB Music Corp.)
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™