Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
July 26, 1998
|Unfaithfulness has consequences
God is patient for the faithful, though they are few
|430: O Master, Let Me Walk
591: Rescue the Perishing
|A prayer for restoration
A psalm of praise
|66: Praise, My Soul, the
King of Heaven
480: O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
|Luke 11:1-13||How to pray, and when to pray||382: Have Thine Own Way,
492: Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire
|Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19)||Live in the grace of Christ||444: O Young and Fearless
606: Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine
Words by Washington Gladden
Music by H. Percy Smith
Tune Name: MARYTON
How are we to live in this world? For those of us who call ourselves "Christians" the answer can be simple--we are to live as Christ-like people. But what does that really mean? To live like Christ; to walk with Christ; to love God; to love our neighbor; what is it?
Washington Gladden (1836-1918), the writer of this week's featured hymn, wrestled with these very issues. As a boy, he was raised in the United States during the aftermath of an era known as the "Second Great Awakening," lived through a bloody civil war that pitted brother against brother, and watched as reconstruction and continuation of industrialization created greater and greater economic disparity between the rich and the poor. It was a trend that had been observed before his time, and one that continues to stir emotional debates today.
With this as a brief historical backdrop, Gladden, a minister and university instructor, was well known as an advocate of social reform. He supported his positions effectively in both spoken and written communication. To conclude a significant work on Christianity and wealth he wrote:
The sum of all this discussion is that the possession of wealth is justified by the Christian ethics, but that it puts the possessor under heavy obligations to multitudes less fortunate. He could never have become rich without the cooperation of many; he ought not to hold his riches for his own exclusive benefit. The great inequalities arising from the present defective methods of distribution will only be corrected through a deepening sense of the obligations imposed by the possession of wealth. The economic law, like the moral law, can never be fulfilled without love.1
The same attitude shows in Gladden's words as he wrote the lyrics to this week's featured hymn, O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee. Not in discussions of economic distribution, but in the final conclusion--no law can ever be fulfilled without love. Consider prayerfully the threads of love interlaced in Gladden's work as he penned the following verses:
|1. O Master, let me walk with thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
|2. Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.
|3. Teach me thy patience; still with thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong;
|4. In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future's broadening way,
in peace that only thou canst give,
with thee, O Master, let me live.
May you walk with the Master this week and always.
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.|
Footnote 1: Washington Gladden, Applied Christianity: Moral Aspects of Social Questions (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin © 1886 and 1914 by Washington Gladden