"Victory in Jesus" is the theme song of the America's Keswick Colony of Mercy, a New Jersey residential ministry to men who have been assailed by addiction of one kind or another. It's the kind of song I used to look down on, never sang, and never belonged to a church that sang. The song is, well, not very suave. Listen:
I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me.
But I attended their worship services for a few days, and the song fits right in. There is nothing suave about the Colony. You can hardly tell the CEO, Bill Welte, from the men in the program: he's up there at every meeting and belts it out as if he just got freed from an addiction himself.
I heard about His groaning,
Of his precious blood's atoning.
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.
I suppose that when you're just coming off cocaine, you can't handle more sophisticated hymns ---although they do have others, but they're mostly joyful and childlike too. The men in the program sit in the front rows, 39 of them. They're joined by residents from the town of Whiting, and from the Keswick retreat center ministry. By the feel of Raws Hall when we're all together, "Victory in Jesus" is a bit contagious, not to say addictive.
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, 'Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,'
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory.