Bringing the Text to Life
Announce any "hymn sing," and one of the songs someone will inevitably raise their hands and ask to sing is "Are You Able?" It appears on most "Top Ten" lists of favorite hymns. We especially love to sing its chorus: "Lord, we are able ...."
Are we really? Are we really able? Might our belief in the great American myth of the "self-made man or woman" contribute to our love affair with this hymn?
Americans take pride in their pioneer heritage -- a history filled with rags-to-riches stories. We praise and admire those who have been able to "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps." We preach to our children that independence is always good and dependence is always bad. Because of this we are better understood as individuals who live in communities than as communities of individuals.
But as admirable and self-motivating as all this rhetoric is, it denies a basic Christian assertion. The God-breathed, Christ-centered, Spirit-driven believer knows that all our strength and power...