Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 (no link)
The one and only God
|116: The God of Abraham
662: Stand Up and Bless the Lord
|God knows us
The way of the Lord
|382: Have Thine Own Way,
358: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
|Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43||The wheat and the tares||694: Come, Ye Thankful People,
469: Jesus Is All the World to Me
|Romans 8:12-25||Heirs of God||369: Blessed
732: Come, We That Love the Lord
Picture this: you have the blessing of your family, and you have the wrath of your family. Those who love you tell you to run for your life; those who are angry have threatened to kill you. You have nowhere to spend the night, so you are sleeping under the stars. The ground is hard and uncomfortable. The best excuse you can find for a pillow is a rock. Still, you are so exhausted that you fall into a deep sleep and begin to dream. In this dream, the heavens open. You see angels. You hear God. You receive a promise. The future is bright. The future is in God's hand. This, of course, is the story of Jacob's ladder, and the special assurance that Jacob received when he saw God in his dream.
This week's lectionary passages are full of hope. From Jacob's ladder which records God's promise that He would stay with Jacob and fulfill His promises, to Paul's letter to the Romans about our divine inheritance, the future looks wonderful. The parable of the wheat and the tares tells us that we may have to deal with weeds for a while, but in the end the good will be separated and harvested. May we all be a part of that great harvest!
The featured hymn this week was written by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915). She lived a life that most people would consider filled with obstacles. She was blinded by an eye infection as an infant; her father died months later; her mother had to work, so Fanny was raised in her grandmother's home. Crosby did not consider these to be challenges, though. Instead, she approached life with hope and courage and, well, an uncommon joy. At age 8 she wrote,
Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be!
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't!
So weep or sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot - nor I won't.
She hardly had time to weep or sigh, either. During her life, Fanny Crosby wrote over 9,000 hymns. Seven appear in The United Methodist Hymnal. In addition to Blessed Assurance, you will find Close to Thee; I Am Thine, O Lord; Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross; Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior; Rescue the Perishing, and To God Be the Glory. Like Jacob, Crosby was able to "see" God in a special way. Try to imagine the "visions of rapture" that she saw:
|1. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
|2. Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
|3. Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.
Like Jacob, and like Fanny Crosby, may you find joy in the assurance of God's blessings.
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.|