Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
|Moses born in time of oppression
The Lord promises to send salvation
|131: We Gather
203: Hail to the Lord's Annointed
337: Only Trust Him
339: Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast
|If the Lord had not been with us...
The Lord aids His people
|61: Come, Thou Almighty
126: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
400: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
|Matthew 16:13-20||The Lord Himself has come||256: We Would See
355: Depth of Mercy
|Romans 12:1-8||Worshiping by using God's gifts||550: Christ, from Whom All
650: Give Me the Faith Which Can Remove
When we speak of blessings, we often think of thankfulness and other aspects of gift giving. It is more than that, though. Blessing is defined as "a thing conducive to happiness or welfare." In other words, it might be anything that makes us happy or satisfies our needs. To children it might be an ice cream treat that makes them happy--or the food that sustains them for one more day. To adults it might be green traffic lights that take them happily home--or the red lights of an ambulance that help clear the way to the hospital for emergency care. Clearly, different things may be viewed as blessings to different people.
But there is more to blessings than happiness and welfare. There are relationships. Who gave the blessing? Who received it? Who else is affected by it? The Lectionary scriptures this week describe some of the blessings that we receive from God. We have leaders, salvation and protection, and individual talents. Each of these involve relationships. Consider the relationship between God and the leaders He sent, and the relationship between God and the people who were led; between God and Christ, and between God and those saved through Christ; between God and gifted people, and between God and people who are touched by the use of those gifts. It does not take long to see that a blessing is far more than just "a thing conducive to happiness or welfare."
This week's featured hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) recognizes Christ as the source of all blessings, but it doesn't stop there. Moving from verse to verse, Wesley begins with the gift of blessings, continues through the distinctions between blessings, talks about the use of blessings, and arrives finally at the ultimate blessing where the relationship of Christ and His people is made perfect and we are one in Christ. The text is a rich study in receiving and using blessings to the glory of Christ alone. Read the words carefully.
|1. Christ, from whom all blessings flow,
perfecting the saints below,
hear us, who thy nature share,
who thy mystic body are.
|2. Join us, in one spirit join,
let us still receive of thine;
still for more on thee we call,
thou who fillest all in all.
|3. Move and actuate and guide,
diverse gifts to each divide;
placed according to thy will,
let us all our work fulfill;
|4. Never from thy service move,
needful to each other prove;
use the grace on each bestowed,
tempered by the art of God.
|5. Many are we now, and one,
we who Jesus have put on;
there is neither bond nor free,
male nor female, Lord, in thee.
|6. Love, like death, hath all destroyed,
rendered all distinctions void;
names and sects and parties fall;
thou, O Christ, art all in all!
What blessings have flowed to you? How have they affected you? How have they affected those around you? What relationship do they reflect in you? What relationship are they leading to? Do they magnify Christ in you?
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.|