On the journey


The Old, Old Story

Luther 15

Tell me the old, old story. As I take another run at 500 words to define gospel, the words of that old gospel song run through my mind. I don’t think I can do a better job of defining gospel than the author who penned those words almost 150 years ago. The lyrics are by A. Katherine Hankey (1866) and music by W. Howard Doane (1867). My favorite rendition is by folk duo, Neal and Leandra, which is to a different tune than the original. I couldn’t find a way for you to listen to it, so I threw a quick YouTube video together.

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love;
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in–
That wonderful redemption,
God’s remedy for sin;
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The “early dew” of morning
Has passed away at noon.

Tell me the story softly,
With earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner
Whom Jesus came to save;
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.

Tell me the same old story,
When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
Is costing me too dear;
And when the Lord’s bright glory
Is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story:
“Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

The Gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ.  It is a life altering story.

Jesus, fully divine and existing with God for all eternity and fully human born of the virgin Mary, came to earth and lived a sinless life, died for sinners and rose from the dead that we (sinners) could be made right with God.

Not even death could defeat Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 59:2, it says that our sins have caused a separation between us and God. The cross bridges the gap, bringing us back together



4 Responses to The Old, Old Story

  1. Ryan Prondzinski says:

    Kathi thanks for posting this song. It does seem like many in the world are trying to make their lives more whole and more complete, but as the song reminds us as well as the Gospel that we so often forget, it is Jesus Christ that makes us whole.

    • The song had kind of been haunting me, so as I started to do another rewrite on “what is gospel?”, I felt like I was simply trying to use those words, but not nearly as poetically.

  2. Joel Becker says:

    Sometimes we just sing the words of hymns. I think it’s ironic the words used in this hymn are so truth-telling, but I wonder how much we actually hear what we’re singing.
    My favorite parts of this hymn are recognizing our weaknesses — tell me the story simply, slowly, softly. We can’t grasp the gospel because it’s too complicated, too simple. It’s too wonderful, too beautiful, too convicting. It flies by in ways we’re totally oblivious to. And, sometimes, the gospel is thundering loud and more quiet than a whisper. Wouldn’t it be great if we could define the gospel? But, isn’t better that we can’t?

    • I agree that we probably don’t pay that much attention to what we are singing in hymns. I didn’t know this hymn before a pastor friend had given me the Neal & Leandra “Listen to the Angels” CD, so I learned by listening to the words. For me, that is a completely different experience than when I have to read the words of a hymn where I get distracted by the measures and notes, too. Once I can sing a hymn from heart, it actually becomes more heartfelt for me.

      It’s a living gospel that we are trying to define. Maybe trying to put gospel into a box confined by our own definitions makes it lifeless? Or at least too little.