Third Sunday of Epiphany
January 24, 1999
|Isaiah 9:1-4||God's people restored||66: Praise, My Soul, the
King of Heaven
384: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
|Psalm 27:1,4-9||Light and salvation in the Lord||153: Thou Hidden Source of
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
|Matthew 4:12-23||Christ preaches repentance, calls disciples||355: Depth of Mercy
415: Take Up Thy Cross
|1 Corinthians 1:10-18||Baptism into Christ alone||85: We Believe in One True
514: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
Have you ever heard the phrase, "all talk and no action?" It doesn't usually appear on people's "to-do" lists. On the contrary, it is one of those remarks that people don't want to have applied to them. They know that words are easy, but "actions speak louder than words."
As a boy, Christ spoke in the synagogue and people were amazed at His words. As a man, Christ shared words of blessing and repentance. On the cross, Christ cried out those victorious words, "It is finished." But what would His life and ministry mean to us today if those words were not coupled with His actions? His acts of humility. His acts of healing. His acts of giving. His acts of protection. His acts of grace and salvation. Christ's ministry was filled with rich and wonderful words that we still recite and celebrate today, but those words were matched with His actions, and those words call us to action as well.
This week's featured hymn was written by Charles W. Everest (1814-1877). The words are bold, challenging us to life long service as disciples of Christ. Considering that Everest, ordained in the Anglican church, served for 31 years in one congregation, the challenge in the hymn seems to come from someone whose actions spoke as loudly as his words. When you read these words, consider the new year resolutions that you might have made earlier this month. Do your resolutions match your calling? Do your actions match your words? How long will those actions last?
The tune GERMANY was taken from William Gardiner's Sacred Melodies, a compilation of tunes that had been adapted for singing with hymns from the themes of great composers. Gardiner credited this tune "to somewhere in the works of Beethoven, but I cannot point it out." I can't point it out, either, but can assure you that Beethoven was, indeed, from Germany. It is written in long meter, a fairly common structure, so you can find a number of alternative tunes if this one does not suit your taste. I like MARYTON, which appears at 430 in the UMH as the tune for "O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee." You can use this link to hear that melody as you read Everest's words.
|1. "Take up thy Cross," the Savior said,
"if thou wouldst my disciple be;
deny thyself, the world forsake,
and humbly follow after me."
|2. Take up thy cross, let not its weight
fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
his strength shall bear thy spirit up,
and brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.
|3. Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
to save thy soul from death and hell.
|4. Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
nor think till death to lay it down;
for only those who bear the cross
may hope to wear the glorious crown.
Christ bore His cross for you almost 2000 years ago. Christ challenged all of us to take up the cross, too. Accept the challenge. Take Up Thy Cross!
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.|