• Trey Harper

Living Hope

“How great the chasm that lay between us. How high the mountain I could not climb. In desperation, I turned to heaven

And spoke Your name into the night. Then through the darkness

Your loving kindness tore through the shadows of my soul. The work is finished, the end is written; Jesus Christ, my living hope.

Who could imagine so great a mercy? What heart could fathom such boundless grace? The God of ages stepped down from glory to wear my sin and bear my shame. The cross has spoken: I am forgiven. The King of kings calls me His own. Beautiful Savior, I'm yours forever Jesus Christ, my living hope.

Then came the morning that sealed the promise. Your buried body began to breathe. Out of the silence, the roaring Lion declared: the grave has no claim on me. Jesus, YOURS is the victory!

(Chorus) Hallelujah, praise the one who set me free! Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me! You have broken every chain, there's salvation in your name. Jesus Christ, my living hope. Oh God, you are my living hope.”

This song, written by Phil Wickham and Brian Johnson, is one of the strongest pieces of music I have heard recently. Sing it? I can barely read the lyrics aloud. The message bears, in my mind, the perfect balance of conviction and consolation. The third verse holds didactic power, taking the hearer/singer to the very moment Jesus’ cold, dead, exsanguinated corpse took its very first breath for a second time. And in that moment, how death itself must have heard the declaration of its defeat.

The music carries a strong, yet solemn feel. (I prefer the Acapella version by Praise and Harmony to Mr. Wickham’s original) There is a building element, yet the crescendo does not reach overstatement; the feel switches from humble astonishment and wonder to authoritative declaration.

Why is this song beautiful? Because the message is the greatest story ever told. Jesus came to do what no other could- give life to sinners. If I am to sing this message, I must also acknowledge: That sinner He died to save- that sinner is me.