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Put ya pride to the side
If you wanna abide
In the arms open wide:
– Augustine of Hiphop
“Augustine of HipHop” is a Twitter feed (handle @hiphopaugustine)!
The author expresses Christian ideas in hip-hop style, based on the theology of Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) Augustine was Bishop of Hippo Regius ( = modern day Annaba, Algeria) in North Africa.
He is one of the most important early ‘Church Fathers’ in Western Christianity, and his writings are admired by Catholics and Protestants alike.
His two most famous works are his ‘Confessions’ (an autobiography outlining conversion from his pagan youth) and ‘The City of God’ (which explores how life under God’s rule relates to the worldly rule of those now in power on earth).
Augstine of HipHop’s rhyme above is just right for the Easter season, as Christians reflect on the love Jesus displayed in dying for us on the cross.
One of the most basic responses is humility – like that displayed by one criminal crucified beside Jesus… The criminal hanging on the other side mocks Jesus. This man replies… “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:41).
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And wonderfully, Jesus promised, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (See Luke 23:42-43.)
A favourite old Wesley hymn expresses Augustine of HipHop’s theology in a more traditional rhyme…
“When I survey the wondrous cross,
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.”
The English Christian leader, John Stott explained it this way…
“Every time we look at the cross, Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
Stand close to the cross. The cross never flatters us. But it does tell us how much Jesus loves us.
I’ll give the last word to Augustine of HipHop, via another of his tweeted rhymes…
“I serve a king
who chose thorns over bling
that’s why I can sing
‘yo Death, where’s thy sting?’ ”
Rev Sandy Grant