On Wednesday evening, we took time in our church to pray for those who do not know Christ. As we prepared our hearts for that task, we sang an old hymn by Isaac Watts, “How Sweet and Awful (Is the Place).” This masterful piece calls the Christian to ponder the awesomeness of standing in the presence of God as an unworthy yet redeemed sinner. It calls us to ponder why we might be included in the family of God while others have refused his love. It calls us to recognize and magnify the glorious grace of a God who would draw us to himself. It calls us to desire that others, unworthy as we, be drawn by God to his lavish grace.
How Sweet and Awful Is the Place
How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.
While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?”
“Why was I made to hear thy voice
and enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?”
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
that sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste
and perished in our sin
Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send thy victorious Word abroad
and bring the strangers home.
We long to see thy churches full,
that all the chosen race
may with one voice and heart and soul
sing thy redeeming grace.