The Red Back Hymnal

The CHURCH HYMNAL: “It’s a Grand and a Glorious Feeling”

Bill Lloyd
Bill Lloyd

Every day we live, we deal with things that are “not-so-grand.”  That goes without saying, so it’s not really necessary to list things we find “not-so-grand” because… well, many things we face daily are greatly troublesome, unimpressive, or just plain discouraging.

But many of the things we know described as “grand” ARE often quite special.  In thinking of these things, I dare not list anything ahead of what many readers feel to be top at the list.  To every “GRANDparent” in this reading audience, it will undoubtedly be said their “GRANDkids” are tops.

The next best known subject of “grandness” must surely be that place in America’s southwest known as “the GRAND Canyon.”  This 277-mile-long stretch of natural wonder is a place of rare beauty, and it is said to be visited by 5 million tourists each year.

Others, however, may not have quite the connection with this “big hole in the ground.” One fictional character that spent very little time at the Grand Canyon was Clark Griswold. 

 Clark and his family stood briefly at the brink of this place of wonder and gazed just a short time across the colorful and vast chasm.  Standing there but just a few seconds, Clark then began to rush his family back toward the car, for they were on ‘vacation.’  His wife stopped him and asked, “Don’t you want to LOOK at the Grand Canyon?”  Clark turned again toward the canyon, while putting his right arm around Ellen’s shoulder. He quickly bobbed his head twice, and then turned to hurry back toward their car.  

Some, like Clark, might feel the Grand Canyon is nothing more than a mere “big Can-YAWN,” but there can’t be many that really feel this way.  Whatever your thoughts on the subject, there is something else far more “Grand.”

What else is known to us as something “grand”?  Well, some entertainers absolutely long for a “GRAND entrance” when they come on stage.  That’s well and fine, but Southern Gospel singers coming on stage for a Gospel music concert will depend heavily on God’s help to reach the audience with the Gospel –– but they also depend on a well-tuned “GRAND piano.”

We’re also very familiar with other uses of the word “grand.” In New York City, for example, is the ever-popular “GRAND Central Station,” while everyone may recall having heard Nashville’s “GRAND Ole Opry” on radio.  (We can still hear in our mind as Cousin Minnie Pearl says, “Howdy!”)  And lest I fail to mention it, every American hopes their favorite baseball team will hit “grand slams” over the course of this Summer.

 When I was but a child, I would sit in our bathtub –– with water in it –– for the longest time and fantasize about things I thought to be “grand.”  While sitting in the warm water, I often fantasized on what might lie just inside the walls of our old house.  To be more specific, I often ‘studied’ the wall right next to the tub, and I ‘thought’ about taking a hammer to that wall to investigate, just to make sure.
In my young mind, I just knew great treasure was hidden within the walls of our house, or maybe even thousands of dollars taken during a bank robbery, all before we moved to that old house.  I thought it all was a “grand idea” at the time, but fortunately for my well-being, I never removed Dad’s hammer from his toolbox.     
The list of things we consider to be “grand” could go on and on, but one of the last things I list would be this thought.  I, like many others, would be “very pleased” to hear the Publishers Clearing House people knocking at my door.  How great it would be for ANY Gospel music artist or fan to win “5 GRAND” a week!
Yet through his 1942 Gospel song, Albert E. Brumley told of something else TRULY “grand.”   The word “grand” doesn’t even begin to describe what I have in mind, for Christians know nothing else can match what it means to be a Christian.  What is told in this month’s featured song should get most every Christian shouting happy. 
We’ll begin with the chorus as we consider this song.  Brumley began by writing –– “It’s a GRAND and a glorious feeling, JUST to be a child of GOD…”  STOP, Mr. Brumley!  Just thinking of the first fourteen words is enough cause for me to shout right now.  Putting aside our thoughts of all the benefits we derive from being a Christian, and of what awaits us all in Glory, we do well at rejoicing in “just (being) a child of GOD.”
As we stop for a moment, there is not only the “grandness” of being a Christian to be considered, but there is also that “glorious feeling” one should have when living for Christ.  As one Gospel songwriter put it many years ago, “…It gets sweeter, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by…”  IF the love for the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t increase day by day, something is wrong. 
So –– how can it be that we, as Christians, feel so strongly about being a child of GOD, so much so that we consider it to be “a GRAND and a glorious feeling”?   More of how we should feel is found in the chorus:
“… How His love comes over me stealing, making my pathway brighter grow as on I plod…”  It’s a grand and a glorious feeling just to KNOW of God’s love for me –– and of my love for Him.  His love for us all will shine through the darkest of days.
Lastly, the chorus tells, “…Ev’ry day I’ll tell the old story, of His love I’ll EVER sing, What a grand and a glorious feeling, Just to be walking (and to be talking) with my King.”
This glorious message has long been told, ever since the angel told of the birth of Jesus, when saying, “…Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10), and then, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
The message of Jesus Christ is “glorious” because of the Source.  Romans 1:1 says it this way:  “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, SEPARATED unto the Gospel of God.”  This Gospel did not have its beginning through the ideas of mankind, but in the heart of the Heavenly Father.  The Gospel could not have its source anywhere but with God, because no one else understands the need of man’s spiritual condition.
The message of Jesus Christ is “glorious” because how it reached mankind.  Jesus Christ became the channel through which the Gospel could reach perishing humanity.  It was at the Cross of Calvary that He bridged the gulf between Maker and man. 
If you could talk with Gospel music songwriters of the present time, or with songwriters of long ago, and you would ask what THEY think of this Gospel message, I think you’d hear each one answer in his or her own way. 
Among those songwriters of the past, you would hear John Newton begin his thoughts of this “glorious message” by shouting out, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like ME…”  Then, you might also hear Fanny Crosby make it known as she answered, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is MINE!  O –– what a foretaste of glory divine!…”
Or you might ask William Cowper’s thoughts concerning the glorious Gospel message, and you would learn, “There is a fountain filled with Blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…”
But let’s now talk with a songwriter of more recent years.  Albert E. Brumley, the writer of this month’s featured song, began the first verse by telling, “I am so glad I heard my Savior gently pleading, now I’m an heir and child of God I truly know, all the way home His precious hand is daily leading, it’s a “GRAND” and a glorious feeling as I go.” 
Moving along to the third verse, we can sing as we think of the present time, as well as what lies ahead for the Saints of God:  “Happy am I along the way to life eternal, Jesus has saved and washed my soul as white as snow, some of these days I’ll reach my wondrous home supernal, it’s a GRAND and a GLORIOUS feeling as I go.”
Am I “happy… along the way to life eternal…?”  You better believe it!  Are there personal challenges and great disappointments that come my way from time to time?  Again, you better believe it!  But in it all, I would NOT go a day without Jesus. 
One day each of us will experience in Heaven that wonderful time of being in the presence of Jesus Himself, and with our loved ones gone before, but for now, we’ll experience what it means to KNOW of that “grand and a glorious feeling, JUST to be a child of God…” 
That makes me happy.  VERY happy!  Your smile, and mine, as a Christian, will be some different, but as a woman on a TV commercial says, “I will always have this smile.  ALWAYS!”
–– Bill
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