January 3, 1999
|Isaiah 60:1-6||Praise from the nations prophesied||126: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above|
|Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14||The powerful will bow; the needy will be helped||427: Where Cross the Crowded
Ways of Life
444: O Young and Fearless Prophet
|Matthew 2:1-12||The prophesy fulfilled||79: Holy God, We Praise Thy
189: Fairest Lord Jesus
|Ephesians 3:1-12||The nations shall know||569: We've a Story to Tell
to the Nations
598: O Word of God Incarnate
Just think of it. You are in a major metropolis. An incredible event has occured in a nearby town. Newspaper boys are shouting, "Extra! Extra!" People are buying the news as fast as they can get their hands on it. You finally get your hands on a copy of this special edition paper. The headline reads, "Child Visited." You scan the lead article and find out that important people had come from a distant country expecting to find a king. Of course, first they had gone to the nation's capital, but after a brief visit they had gone to an outlying town to visit a two-year-old boy and his parents. They gave the child some precious and deeply symbolic gifts. Gifts to recognize eternal wealth and power. Gifts to recognize deity. Gifts to foretell sadness and sacrifice. Everyone is talking about "the story."
It is a fantastic event. But there is something missing in this newspaper. There are no follow up interviews with the visitors. No comments from the child's parents. Not even a background profile on the child. Instead, it seems that everyone involved in the story has vanished. The visitors have left town, and the boy's family seems to have packed up and moved away over night. Even worse, the government has declared the child a "dangerous fugitive," and has decided to respond to the perceived threat by ordering the deaths of every boy toddler in the land. What an incredible tragedy! The entire nation mourns.
Thirty years go by. The sharp pain of killing the children has become a dull, throbbing memory. You wonder whether the visitors knew about the pain and destruction they had left behind them. And then another day of excitement comes. "Extra! Extra!" come the calls again. This is truly peculiar. The Sunday morning paper have already been delivered. Who ever heard of an extra edition on a Sunday? This really must be special, so you buy a copy. It seems that you have found more about the story that had been printed thirty years before. The two-year-old boy had escaped the government's death decree as a toddler, only to be crucified as an adult. But there was more--this man who was crucified is alive again! What a story!
Stories like this would make the news headlines around the globe if they happened today. And guess what--these stories do happen in the hearts of people every day! This week's featured hymn was written by H. Ernest Nichol (1862-1928). Nichol had a story to tell, and this is how he told it:
|1. We've a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
|2. We've a song to be sung to the nations,
that shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
a song that shall conquer evil
and shatter the spear and sword,
and shatter the spear and sword.
|3. We've a message to give to the nations,
that the Lord who reigneth above
hath sent us his Son to save us,
and show us that God is love,
and show us that God is love.
|4. We've a Savior to show to the nations,
who the path of sorrow hath trod,
that all of the world's great peoples
might come to the truth of God,
might come to the truth of God.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright;
and Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.
We still have this story to tell, this song to be sung, this message to give, this Savior to show. May you carry the message of this hymn in your heart and in your life every day.
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.|