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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When morning gilds the skies,
my heart awaking cries:
may Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer
to Jesus I repair:
may Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind?
A solace here I find:
may Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss?
My comfort still is this:
may Jesus Christ be praised!

     The German hymn “When Morning Gilds the Skies” c. 1800
     from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

“Jesus is our Champion.” I can picture my friend saying this as we are drinking our tea sitting across from each other. Every time we get together and pour the black tea and mix in the cream we get rolling in conversation about the past, the present, about what God is doing in our lives, and then at some point he will pipe in with those words. Specifically he says, “Jesus is my Champion, that really resonates with me.”

Working in a church, I hear many different descriptors to explain Jesus: Brother, Friend, Savior, Lord, King, Example, Redeemer—and there are many more. But as I was preparing for this devotional and reading the words to the famous hymn “When Morning Gilds the Skies” with the crescendo at the end of each verse saying “May Jesus Christ be praised,” the inner dialogue in my head responded with “because he is our Champion.”

As Jesus finishes up the Sermon on the Mount, words filled with power, justice, compassion, love, and profound dignity for life—may Jesus Christ be praised, our Champion teacher.  

Or as Paul describes, in Philippians 2, how Jesus humbled himself and became a servant, being obedient to God and ultimately dying on the cross for our sin—may Jesus Christ be praised, our Champion Savior and Example.

Or as we read the story of Mary and Martha or Lazarus or Simon Peter, in all the stories in which we see Jesus’ transformative love—may Jesus Christ be praised, our Champion Brother and Friend.

Or today, if you are discouraged about what lies ahead or scared about the future or if you have lost wind in your sail, be reminded that you have a Champion who stands ready to transformingly love you today—may Jesus Christ be praised.   

Jesus, thank you for being our Champion. Please quiet my fear and anxiety today with your love. Amen.

Written by Daniel Holladay, Senior High Youth Coordinator

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