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Forget the Channel: a name for this site

I’ve been thinking about naming this site for a while. The new name, Forget the Channel, is taken from the final verse of the hymn ‘May the Mind of Christ my Saviour’ by Kate Barclay Wilkinson (apparently written before 1913, published in 1925):

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

The idea is that the site is designed to contribute to the vital task of seeing people come to a saving trust in Jesus Christ. If it furthers that end, it’s achieved its aim. If all it does is make people appreciate Lionel Windsor more, then it’s failed.

The name was suggested by my very beautiful wife, Bronwyn. It’s actually a song we sang while standing together at the Mid Year Conference for Campus Bible Study (University of New South Wales) in 1997, less than a week before I asked her out. We remember the song, because I had to ask Bronwyn what the words ‘forget the channel’ meant, and she patiently explained it to me. We were married eleven months later.

The explanation:

The hymn “May the Mind of Christ my Saviour” is an extended prayer that explores various aspects of the Christian’s participation in Christ. The overarching idea is reflected in places like Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

The controlling idea of this particular verse is evangelism:

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

May the Mind of Christ my Saviour

Participation in Christ involves sharing Christ’s salvation with others, i.e. seeking to win the lost to a saving faith in Christ. Evangelism always involves communication, i.e. the communication of the “beauty” of Christ’s person and work of salvation. Communication involves four things: a sender, a message, a communication channel or medium, and a recipient. In this case, Christ is the sender, his person and work is the message, the Christian is the communication channel, and the person hearing about Christ is the recipient.

There is a twofold prayer in this verse.

Firstly, because I as a Christian participate in Christ, I pray that Christ’s own beauty would “rest upon me”–i.e. I pray that I would be transformed to be beautiful because Christ is beautiful. That’s because my own “beauty”–my life as a Christian–is an important part of my evangelism.

However, there is a danger in all this, that people will simply praise my beautiful Christian life and not understand the thing that really matters, i.e. the message about Christ and the salvation that is in him.

So secondly, I pray that the recipient of my evangelism will look beyond my own beauty and see that it is really Christ’s beauty that is resting on me. That is, I pray that I will act as a good communication channel. A good communication channel doesn’t end up with people focussing on the channel, but the message. So I pray that even as I am transformed into Christ’s likeness, the lost person I am sharing the gospel with does not simply look at me–the channel–but rather understands the beauty of the sender (Christ) and the message (Christ). In this way, I pray that they will “forget the channel, seeing only Him.”

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