Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Comments on a Hymn

Behold the Lamb

In this beautiful hymn the composers repeat a word: remember. That's what this hymn is calling for. They want us to remember what Jesus has done for us. But this remembering is not limited to moments of worship. In the Bible, to remember means to bring something to mind and then to take some appropriate action. The hymn writers have included an appropriate action as the last stanza of the hymn.


Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us - and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you - eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you - drink and remember
He drained death's cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, - and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Contentment

As of last Tuesday, I was planning on preaching on the first two verses of Romans 12. It seemed a good text, and I had written out quite a few ideas. But the Spirit made it clear to me that that isn’t what you need to hear. So, I put all of that aside and waited for Him to let me know what He wanted me to do. In due time, He directed me to a text that has to do with contentment. I’m going to assume that He re-directed me because He is aware of a need among us for some reflection on this topic. And that isn’t surprising. We live in a very discontented society. It would be naive to think that that doesn’t affect us.

So, let me read what the Spirit led me to so that we can do some thinking about His idea of contentment. Paul writes this to one of the churches he planted.

A Prayer

Father,

You have made it so very clear. We don't have to guess what You want from us. It's right there printed in black and white. You want us to love You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And as we do that, Your other expectation about loving the people around us is easily met. But Father, we are such sinners even when it comes to something as clear as this. It's not that we hate You. Not at all. We feel great affection for You. We understand something of what it means that You are our Father and all the rest. We really like You. But when it comes to loving  someone with all that we are, the person that we love in that way is ourselves. We don't usually that out loud, but it's the truth. And in those moments of honesty, we see it. The person that we care the most about it us.

Father, we are ashamed when we admit that. You are the God who has done us so much good. You are the one who has created us. You are the one who gives us each breath. And when we fell into a mess, You are the one who redeemed us. We, quite literally, would be nothing without You. And yet, when push comes to shove, our default is to look to ourselves and our own welfare.

This is awful. But Jesus has come. And He has come to deal with not just sinful people like us, but selfish people like us. We really are grateful that His coming means forgiveness for our frightful sin of selfishness. Without that we would be Your enemies, something that is too terrifying to consider. But we are also very grateful that His coming means change. We don't have to stay the selfish people that we are. We can become truly human, people who live the way we were created to live. We can become people who actually do love You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That will be so good.

So, thank You, Father, for Jesus and the Gospel. Thank You for forgiveness. Thank You for change. Thank You that one day we will no longer need to be forgiven and we will be completely changed. Thank You that one day we will love in the way we were created to love. That will be life indeed.

And now, Father, we ask for Your blessing on the preaching of Your Word. This is a basic tool that the Spirit uses to bring about change. Bless the preaching and the hearing so that there would be much change. Through Christ our Lord Amen.

Prayer for the Week

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer

Friday, July 14, 2017

For Sunday

Reading of the Law of God
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5.6-7

Confession of Sin
Our Father, we find it so hard to humble ourselves under Your mighty hand. We see dangers, both real and imagined, and we are quick to look to our own resources to ward them off.  But instead of enjoying peace, we find ourselves becoming even more anxious. Forgive us for our pride in our abilities. Forgive us for not trusting You. Grant us the grace we need to trust You enough to rest quietly in Your arms, knowing that You care for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Declaration of Pardon
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28.13

May the God of all healing and forgiveness draw us to himself, and cleanse us from all our sins that we may behold the glory of his Son, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
The Book of Common Prayer

Comments on a Hymn

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!

This hymn is just a straight-ahead praise of Jesus, a hymn to be sung with gusto. The author turns to various groups and calls them to join in the worship of Jesus as Lord. He starts with the angels, then appeals to the martyrs. The faithful of the seed of Israel are next. Then, there’s us, the sinners. And not to leave anyone out, the hymn writer turns to ‘every kindred, every tribe, on this terrestrial ball’. That about covers everyone else - believers or not.

I find the last appeal especially touching. The author expresses his own desire to be where there’s some real worship going on - where those who have finished with here are there with Him. And one day we all will be with that sacred throng praising the one who has earned to right to be called Lord of all.


All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God,
Who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s rod,
And crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s rod,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race,
Ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
And crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget
The wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at His feet,
And crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball,
To him all majesty ascribe,
And crown him Lord of all;
To him all majesty ascribe,
And crown him Lord of all.

O that, with yonder sacred throng,
We at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all!