Third Sunday of Easter
April 26, 1998
|Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)||Blinded by the light!||378: Amazing Grace|
|Psalm 30||God responds to our needs||130: God Will Take Care of
142: If Thou Shalt But Suffer God to Guide Thee
381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
397: I Need Thee Every Hour
|John 21:1-19||Returning to Christ's kind of fishing||398: Jesus Calls Us|
|Revelation 5:11-14||Worthy is the Lamb!||193: Jesus! the Name High
327: Crown Him with Many Crowns
Words by Cecil Frances Alexander
Music by William H. Jude
Tune name: GALILEE
"What's left for me now?" "I used to be a fisherman. I could do that again." "I've been working the nets all night, and I have nothing to show for it." Perhaps some of the eleven disciples thought or said these things after the crucifixion.
"No one could have a more righteous cause." "Heresy among God's people must be pulled out by the root." "They'll have to listen to me now!" Each of these statements could have been made by a man named Saul.
Something changed all of these, though. Something miraculous. For the disciples, Christ had called them into ministry three years ago. He said, "I will make you fishers of men," and He did! They had travelled the Holy Land with the Holy Man, feeding, healing, and teaching all along the way. But that ministry had come to a screeching halt. From being the object of public praise and adoration on Palm Sunday, Christ had been put to public humiliation and the grave on Good Friday. He had risen and He had even appeared to the disciples, but they were still without direction. Then Jesus called them!
To Saul, Christ had been a sorcerer. An evil man. To Saul, Christ's followers were only spreading the evil that the Jewish leaders were trying to eradicate at the crucifixion. Saul had been given authority. Saul knew that he had been called to service by God, and he was intent on pursuing the work that had begun at Calvary. Saul was only partly wrong. He was wrong about Christ and about Christ's followers. Christ was holy, and His people were spreading God's love. Saul was partly right, though. He had been given authority, he had been called to service by God, and he was supposed to pursue the work that had begun at Calvary. He just needed to understand the source of his authority and the work he had been called to do. He needed some redirection, and he received it--Jesus called him!
So the disciples needed direction; Saul needed redirection. God gave all of them the direction through the call of Jesus Christ. The title of this week's featured hymn delivers this message even before we reach the text. Jesus Calls Us. We are not all called to be apostles, but we are all called. We are called from the distractions of this world to do His work in this world. May we all hear and heed the call, just as the apostles did in the first century.
Cecil Frances Alexander lived during the 19th century and wrote many hymns for children during her lifetime. Her works focused on teaching Christianity, including creeds of the faith and important figures in its history. In all she published over 400 hymns. She wrote Jesus Calls Us in 1852. Her husband was an Anglican Bishop in Ireland. Other hymns in The United Methodist Hymnal that she wrote include Once in Royal David's City and All Things Bright and Beautiful. William J. Jude, who wrote the tune "GALILEE," was a contemporary of Mrs. Alexander and served as organist in a number of churches.
God bless you--
|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.|