To understand this arrangement, I need to introduce you to a member of my family.
James is my oldest son. When he was three years old, James was diagnosed with autism. Autism affected James in many ways — some positive, some quite difficult. He was brilliant in many ways and, unlike many autistic people, was generally a kind and sensitive child.
One Sunday I was leading Behold the Great Redeemer Die as the sacrament hymn and looked down and noticed that James, who was about 11, was crying. I went down to sit with him as soon as possible and asked him what was wrong. The conversation that followed was the inspiration for this arrangement.
James told me that the song was sad. When I asked him why he found it sad, he simply said, “Because Jesus died.” I looked at my dear son and said, “James, you have not read the entire hymn. Look at the last verse, the one we didn’t sing.”
For those of you who rarely glance beyond the verses printed between the staves (and that’s most of us), that verse says:
He lives–he lives. We humbly now
Around these sacred symbols bow
And seek, as Saints of latter days,
To do his will and live his praise.
I then told him that Jesus was resurrected and lives now and that because of the sacrifice described in the hymn he too would be resurrected. James calmed down and I was happy for the opportunity to teach.
A couple of years after this incident, James was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He lived about 10 more years. How grateful I am for the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Download the audio here (Right-click and choose download).