This is day 5 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
“In Christ Alone” is probably the most popular hymn of the 21st century so far. Written in 2002 by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, its powerful declaration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the assurance that hope is found in him alone has resonated with many around the world.
In an interview, Townend attributed the song’s popularity to the timing, coming soon after the world-changing events of 9/11.
“It seems like this song is timely. We in the West have had our sense of safety and security brutally torn apart by recent world events, and it’s caused many to re-evaluate the foundations of their life. I feel that the song has helped to stir faith in many believers that God really is our protector; that our lives are in His unshakable hands.”
The song is also one that has a special meaning for me as it was the song that I chose to have at my baptism in 2006.
The decision to be baptised was a difficult one for me to make. I felt a lot of pressure from family and friends on both sides of the decision, and I knew whichever choice I made it was going to upset people I cared about.
It was also a turbulent time for me as I tried to process and deal with difficult memories and emotions. In many ways I wondered if I was ready to take the step. I didn’t feel like a good example of a “shiny happy Christian.”
In the end though, I recognised that it wasn’t about pleasing other people and it certainly wasn’t about reaching some magical standard of goodness or wholeness. The whole point of baptism was about what Jesus had done, not about anything that I needed to do. It was about accepting grace.
I think for me it was an important declaration to make at that time. It was saying that, no matter what difficulties lay ahead on this journey, I was doing it with God, and it reminded me that I was absolutely secure in him.
“No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand.
Till he returns, or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”