• Caleb Mello

Songs in a Pandemic – Part 4, Is He Worthy?



This post was originally published at the Cornerstone Fellowship Knysna Blog page on 26 May 2020: https://cornerstoneknysna.org/blog

(This is a continuing series of posts regarding how Christians deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, using the medium of music to interact with the topic of Christian perspective. See Part 1Part 2, & Part 3)


Today is day 61 of the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa. Two months. Cases are continuing to rise here with no end in sight. Most are saying that our peak is still four months away. And South Africa has thus far been spared the worst. Worldwide, as of today, there have been almost 5.5 million cases of the novel coronavirus, with nearly 550,000 deaths. I know of no country on earth that is not affected in some way. From Aruba to Zimbabwe; from the largest country by land mass, Russia, to the tiniest of micro-states, Vatican City; from the most populous, China, to the one of the least, San Marino; from the richest, the United States and Europe, to the poorest, Somalia and Haiti; from the most crowded, Bangladesh, to the most sparse, Mongolia; from the massive metropolis of Tokyo to the empty steppes of Kazakhstan; from the deserts of Iran to the mountains of Switzerland; from the coasts of America to the Australian outback; from the rainforests of Brazil to the islands of Indonesia; and of course closer to home, from the teeming cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, to the idyllic Garden Route: the COVID-19 pandemic has reached into nearly every conceivable corner of our globe. 


And of course the pandemic dominates our news and minds, as one would expect. But did we hear about the other disasters to befall parts of our world in recent months? Plagues of locusts in East Africa, super-cyclones in India and Bangladesh, flooding Uganda, fires in Australia, earthquakes in New Zealand, tornadoes in the American south, avalanches in Turkey, volcanoes erupting in the Philippines. These are devastating to our world, but they are not surprising to us. I have personally lived through dozens of hurricanes, tornadoes, and even devastating fires (I’d like to avoid earthquakes and volcanoes if possible please). Natural disasters, diseases, even pandemics, are part of life in this world. But all this begs the question: why? 


Those with a biblical worldview are not afraid of the question. In fact, our worldview alone has the intellectual and theological depth to answer the question. The world is broken. All creation is groaning. The natural order is straining, continually under duress. What we may call “natural evil” is par for the course. We acknowledge this. But we also know that natural evil is the result of moral evil. It is the result of rebellion against God’s created order, rebellion against God’s authority (Genesis 3). Quite simply, natural evil is the result of sin. And so because of sin, the whole of creation is groaning under the curse (Romans 8:18-25). We are not surprised by the disasters; indeed, our worldview tells us to expect them. 

But our worldview also helps us know that this is not all there is. The groaning will cease. Creation is heading somewhere, or rather to something. Something restored, yes, even Edenic, but more than that. Creation will be renewed. Remade. Completed. Perfected. And there is only One who has the authority to make all things new, to take the scroll from the throne of God Himself and unfold the purposes for all of history, to bring about the completion for which all was created: This is Jesus, the Lamb of God, standing slain having redeemed those who had been enslaved to sin. He broke the curse of sin, took it upon himself as our ransom, so that sinners from every people and tribe, every nation and tongue, can be redeemed and so that in defeating death, conquering the greatest enemy, He could bring this broken, groaning creation to glorious and perfect completion. Only Jesus has that authority. And so we look to Jesus as our Prophet, Priest and King, looking to Him for our salvation, not just from our circumstances, but from our sin. 


This is the central thrust of our song for this post. This is a newer song by Andrew Peterson and is based most centrally on Revelation 5: Is He Worthy? I realize that this is a bold, and somewhat brash, statement, given the thousands of songs to choose from, but this has become my favorite song. And it grows more and more so with each time listening. In a beautiful call and response format, it asks these deep questions, the hard questions, but then comes to the right answers. Answers of confidence. But in the chorus the song asks the most central question: Is He Worthy? Is Jesus, the Lamb slain for all tribes, tongues, and nations, worthy to take the scroll and unfold the purposes of God? Is He worthy to make all things new? Is He worthy to heal all that is broken? Is He worthy to hold in His hand all who will come to Him? The song moves in and out of these questions, but ultimately and finally settles on the answer: “He is! Worthy is the Lamb! Jesus is worthy to receive blessing and honour and glory. He is worthy!”



IS HE WORTHY?

Verse 1

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)

Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)

But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through? (We do)

Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)

Verse 2

Is all creation groaning? (It is)

Is a new creation coming? (It is)

Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)

Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)


Chorus 1

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?

Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?

The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave

He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory

Is He worthy of this? He is.

Verse 3

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)

Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)

And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does)

Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Chorus 2

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?

Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?

The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave

He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From every people and tribe, Every nation and tongue

He has made us a kingdom and priests to God to reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy? Of all blessing and honor and glory

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

Is He worthy of this? He is!

Is He worthy? Is He worthy? He is!

He is!

PS: If you love choral music, as I do, Dan Forrest’s arrangement of Is He Worthy? will fill you with awe. Incorporating parts of Handel’s Messiah, Forrest adds his typically masterful touch to an already incredible song. Listen here.

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