There has always been music in my life. My earliest memories have a soundtrack, which I think of as The Broadman Hymnal: Greatest Hits. I was four when we moved to Texas, so I must have been 2 or 3 when I laid on my Granny and Gramps' couch listening to Gramps practice with a gospel quartet. Mama played the piano as they belted out Victory in Jesus, He Keeps Me Singing and countless other hymns.
I remember learning the words to these hymns as I listened carefully to the blending of voices, beautiful harmonies and words that would come in later years to mean so much to me. I am a Baptist, which means that Victory in Jesus is pretty much the gold standard as far as hymns go. There are others that I love that are far more poetic, have deeper theological content and have more beautiful arrangements musically, but this one is the one that I find myself humming as I'm doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen.
This is the one that we always sing around the piano before our voices give out. This is the one that reminds me of my family back home and the legacy of love and faith that has been passed down from generation to generation. This is the one I want my children to know by heart.
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:56-57
I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory.
I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.