Odd Things Christians Say

There is power in the blood

There is power, power, wonder-working power

In the blood of the Lamb

There is power, power, wonder-working power

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

This is not just an odd thing that Christians say, but an odd thing that Christians sing. The excerpt above is from the hymn “Power In The Blood”, written over a hundred years ago. It’s held a place of prominence in many churches ever since. If you don’t have a church background however, the lyrics sounds odd if not cult-like. It also raises the questions:  “How could blood have power?” and “What does a lamb have to do with anything?”

 

Background

The language of sacrifice is found throughout the Bible. I don’t have the space to unpack all of it here. Put briefly, a lamb could be offered as a sacrifice to remove guilt in the Israelite culture. So, the blood of the lamb referred to it’s life that was given on behalf of the offending party. Likewise, Christians are called to sacrifice themselves in the service of others (give time, energy, money, etc…)

 

The Twist

Churches may sing about “power in the blood”, but many act as if power exists mainly in voting booths and media saturation. Christians at times seek to attain power through political influence, seeking to vote our way to a better society. We build bigger buildings seeking to draw larger crowds. We grow bigger budgets in hopes of having greater influence. In some places, guilt and fear are still used to get people to comply with behavioral guidelines, as if God’s forgiveness were somehow contingent on our ability to appreciate it and be changed by it. These things are not power as Jesus understood it or demonstrated it.

 

The Truth

There is power in the blood. The power that Jesus displayed is the sort we are to mirror. It’s found in giving of ourselves to a world that is hurting and confused.  True power is found in forsaking what the world considers powerful. In a story from the early part of Jesus’ ministry, we read about Satan offering Jesus control of the world. Jesus chose instead to die for those who would have him. In his most famous sermon, Jesus advocated mercy, humility, and meekness.

 

The Way Forward

True power comes from giving our lives in service of those who are powerless and voiceless. We must seek to have a voice in the projects and mining towns rather than in Washington DC. The future of Christianity lies in our ability to not demand our own way. We are to be salt and light, not a sledge hammer with a bank account. Acting for the good of others even when it is detrimental to you can be very powerful indeed.

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