Our title today reflects the great truth for all times. “In times like these” would be an accurate reflection on all times for all men. At all times it is true that all men need a savior and an anchor for their souls. Whether that time was the period of ancient Rome with all its pagan practices, or the Middle Ages with its total social dysfunction, or the Reformation with its wars and persecution or today with secularism again dominating the public stage, there is a constant need for Someone greater than the circumstances of the age. There is a need for salvation in the midst of hopelessness. There is a need for assurance in the midst of chaos. But more importantly, in every age there is a need for forgiveness in the midst of sin and judgment.
In each period of church music there is a reflection of the times. The steadfastness of God’s love in the midst of all human crises is seen in the songs we sing. The fact that God, the Almighty and Sovereign Lord is there provides hope and comfort. That Jesus Christ is alive, resurrected and coming again, is assurance that we too shall be resurrected and will live forever. That the Holy Spirit has been sent for our guidance and comfort lifts our hearts in praise, for we are not alone. Whatever the times may be, God is there to care for His children. We are to sing of this and share this hope with a humanity that is hopeless without Him. Our constant new songs should express this hope in the caring, loving, forgiving triune God. Then others will want to sing along.
The time of 1960’s grew increasingly grim as the decade advanced. There were such things as the war in Asia, civil rights conflicts with major riots in America, riots and strife on campuses and the ever present fear of nuclear holocaust. Who would want to have a baby in such times as those? This is the underlying story behind one of America’s favorite contemporary gospel songs, “Because He Lives.” The second verse relates a little of the angst that the Gaithers felt at the time of the arrival of their new baby. But because of the assurance of God and of new life in Christ, the fear was replaced with hope and joy.
How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives;
but greater still the calm assurance: this child can face uncertain days because Christ lives.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone;
because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.