1st Sunday of Advent
November 29, 1998
|Isaiah 2:1-5||Peace will come||414: Thou Hidden Love of
532: Jesus, Priceless Treasure
|Psalm 122||Pray for peace||230: O Little Town of
376: Dona Nobis Pacem
|Matthew 24:36-44||We don't know the time||211: O Come, O Come,
400: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
|Romans 13:11-14||The time has come||203: Hail to the Lord's
214: Savior of the Nations, Come
Christmas is coming! Advent is here! Happy new year to everyone! It is the season of the year when we focus our attention on the coming celebration of Christ's birth--Christmas. The lectionary passages this week begin the Advent cycle, giving assurance of peace, but still urging us to pray for peace; telling us that we don't know God's time line, but still assuring us that God is with us now.
This week's featured hymn was written by Robert Robinson (1735-1790). Saved at age 17 and influenced by both John Wesley and George Whitefield, Robinson himself grew up to enter the ministry, first as a Methodist, and later in the Baptist church. Through an anecdote recorded by James Archer Spurgeon, the grandfather of C.H. Spurgeon, we learn that Robinson ministered in the church attended by Isaac Watts. Here is Spurgeon's story:
When I joined the Baptist Church at Cambridge, one of the most respectable churches that can be found in the world, one of the most generous, one of the most intelligentthis was a great many years ago, when I was youngnobody spoke to me. On the Lord's Day I sat at the Communion table in a certain pew. There was one gentleman in it, and when the service was over, I said to him, "I hope you are quite well, sir?" He said, "You have the advantage of me." I answered, "I don't think I have, for you and I are brothers." "I don't quite know what you mean," said he. "Well," I replied, "when I took the bread and wine just now, in token of our being one in Christ, I meant it. Did not you?" We were by that time in the street; he put both his hands on my shouldersI was about sixteen years old thenand he said, "Oh, sweet simplicity!" Then he added, "You are quite right, my dear brother, you are quite right. Come in to tea with me. I am afraid I should not have spoken to you if you had not first addressed me." I went to tea with him that evening; and when I left, he asked me to go again the next Lord's Day, so I went, and that Sabbath Day he said to me, "You will come here every Sunday evening, won't you?" So old Mr. Watts and young Mr. Spurgeon became fast friends.
How exciting it must have been to minister and worship and serve in the midst of these "giants of the faith!" And yet the story is told that in his later years, a woman asked Robinson whether he liked the hymn that she was humming--Come, Thou Fount. He is quoted as having responded with tearful eyes, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."
Hear the joyful words that brought a tune to the woman's lips and tears to Robinson's eyes.
|1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
|2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
The Lord is coming! The Lord has come! Peace be with you as you enter this Advent season.
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|