Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 1998
|Acts 11:1-18||Something new--repentance and resurrection into life for the Gentiles||303: The Day of
373: Nothing Between
|Psalm 148||Creation--all that is new--praises the Lord||139: Praise to the Lord,
278: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
280: All Glory, Laud, and Honor
|John 13:31-35||The new commandment--to love one another||384: Love Divine, All Loves
468: Dear Jesus, in Whose Life I See
|Revelation 21:1-6||The new Jerusalem||160: Rejoice, Ye Pure in
327: Crown Him with Many Crowns
Words by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring
Music by George J. Elvey
Tune name: DIADEMATA
The setting is beyond our wildest imaginations. John, exiled on the island of Patmos, was in the Spirit when he saw and heard everything recorded in the book of Revelation. He was instructed to carry messages to "the seven churches." He was called inside the doors of Heaven. He saw the glory of God!
As the events unfolded before his eyes, heaven and earth passed away in the midst of glory and salvation, as well as tragedy and tribulation. But this was not the end of the story. There was more. A new Jerusalem descended, made in perfect form and constructed only with the most precious materials. There is something peculiar about this Jerusalem, though. There is no temple. But then, think about the first creation. God put no "temple" in the Garden of Eden, either. Why?
The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple! In the beginning and at the end, God's people worship in Him. The temples and sanctuaries built by human hands today are only places where God's people come together, or "congregate," and the people who meet there are called "congregations." With no temple, it seems to me that there will be no walls dividing us, and all people will be part of a single, great congregation--the people of God! May we always be congregations who worship in God alone.
This week's featured hymn was inspired by the words of Revelation 19:12: "His eyes are like fire, and on his head are many crowns." Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) originally wrote the hymn based on this idea alone. Later, Godfrey Thring (1823-1903) rewrote the hymn using other images from the book of Revelation.
1. Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne, Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity. 2. Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave, and rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high, who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
3. Crown him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways from pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise. His reign shall know no end, and round his pierced feet fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet. 4. Crown him the Lord of love; behold his hands and side, those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified. All hail, Redeemer, hail! For thou hast died for me; thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
On "The Pastor's Page" for 9/13/97, Pastor Tommy Thompson wrote, "So a Roman Catholic layman and an Anglican Cleric coauthored a hymn about the place we call Heaven, where Christians of all denominations will bow before the throne and crown Jesus as Lord." Well said, Pastor Thompson! What could I add to that?
The tune, DIADEMATA, was written by George J. Elvey (1816-1893).
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.|