While driving long trips, I will sometimes surf radio stations to learn what the world is listening to: contemporary Christian music, rock music, folk music, jazz, hip-hop, rap, opera, country, classical, oldies. Given that I sometimes take very long trips, I have done a lot of listening. One night as I was closing in on Atlanta c. 2:30 a.m., I remember hearing experimental space music from GA Tech. Go Tech.
I virtually never listen to religious stations – too many apparent charlatans. However, once while driving late night from Durham to Charlotte, I happened on a religious broadcast whose character impressed me. So I stayed tuned and there ensued a sermon of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It was not his voice, but that of someone reading one of his sermons. I had never heard of him and had no idea of his era.
As you can see at the link above, Spurgeon (1834-1892) was among the great preachers the world has ever known. He was a Baptist who got his call at age 19 and preached so persuasively that his congregation built him a church in London seating six thousand. They sang principally the psalms of Isaac Watts exclusively a cappella; thus his musical theology, at least, was Calvinist.
His sermon addressed God’s temporal and spiritual providence for us. It was about 30 minutes long, though I have since learned that his sermons usually spanned two hours, so some generous editing had transpired. It was a straightforward, didactic, ingenuous explication of scripture. Though simple in form, it was interesting, inspiring, and its simple truth went straight to the heart.
I searched the web but never found the source of the broadcast, so I couldn’t find the sermon or the scripture he used. Nevertheless, I have the gist. He spelled out the anxiety many of us feel about our worldly security – money, success, comfort, fame, legacy, etc. Then he spelled out the fears many of us have of our moral and spiritual fitness for this world and the next. Then he said we should put all these anxieties at the throne of God and be comforted: “Lay them all at the throne of God.” William Sloan Coffin, in a sermon he preached at Cannon Chapel, said “there is far more grace in God than there is sin in us.” I cited the probable source of this on the blog a few weeks back: William Langland (1332 – c. 1386), “All the sin in the world in relation to God's mercy is like a spark of fire in the midst of the sea.”
My first senior pastor, Charlie Milford, at my first major church post, Park Road Baptist, Charlotte, 1976-1982, mentoring this inexperienced and often overly anxious director of music, said to me many times: “be not anxious.”
Be we not anxious, for all people, cares, and dreams are welcome at God’s Throne of Grace.