In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, I’d like to share an excerpt from “It’s Suppertime” that talks about my father-in-law who sang this song on Father’s Day 1986.
A Child of the King
There’s an old hymn titled “A Child of the King.”* One of the verses and the chorus have been included below:
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.
I’m a child of the King.
A child of the King;
With Jesus, my Saviour,
I’m a child of the King.
To a Christian, these words bring out overwhelming feelings of gratitude as we reflect on God’s grace and how the sacrifice of Jesus changed us from a condemned outcast to a prince or princess in God’s kingdom.
This hymn also has special meaning to me for another reason. On Father’s Day many years ago, my father-in-law, Harvey Enyeart—or Doc, as everyone knew him—sang this song at the Sunday evening service. He was unable to sing those words without crying. He was so touched by God’s grace in his life that he got choked up every time he thought about it.
He often talked about God and his grace, but he almost never did it with dry eyes. Sometimes people would snicker at Doc because he was so emotional. But he knew—and lived—something that none of us should ever allow ourselves to forget or take for granted: We can only be a child of the King because of his great love for us and the great sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Shame on us if we ever fail to be overcome with awe, gratitude, and yes, emotion, because of that truth.
This was the last song Doc ever sang. The next day he suffered a stroke, and the voice he used to praise and thank his Lord was silenced on earth. A few weeks later, he entered his mansion in the presence of his Father, the King, and received his robe and his crown. I’m confident Doc is still thanking and praising God for his grace.
As you partake of the Lord’s Body and Blood, take the time to think about where you would be without his grace and where you will one day be because of his love.
It’s okay if you shed a few tears.
*“A Child of the King,” words by Harriet Eugenia Peck Buell and music by John Bunnell Sumner (1877), https://wordwisehymns.com/2012/08/08/a-child-of-the-king/.
Copyright © 2018 James Gresham
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