Suggested Hymns

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 6, 1998
Proper 18(23)

Unifying Theme:
God has the power to mold and direct His creatures;
God appeals to His creation to act on the basis of love.

Scripture Theme Hymns
Jeremiah 18:1-11
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
The discretion of the potter
Choose life!
382: Have Thine Own Way, Lord
530: Are Ye Able
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Psalm 1
God knows His creation
God watches over the righteous
147: All Things Bright and Beautiful
698: God of the Ages
Luke 14:25-33 Disciples must choose to give up all for Christ 399: Take My Life, and Let It Be
354: I Surrender All
Philemon 1-21 We are subject to being ordered, but God appeals to us on the basis of love 89: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
348: Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling

Featured Hymn
I Surrender All

Hymn #354
Words by J.W. Van Deventer
Music by W.S. Weeden

What a great week for hymns and scriptures! The potter and the clay in Jeremiah. Moses's challenge to "choose life!" in Deuteronomy. The Psalmist's passages of God's intimate knowledge of us. Christ's challenge to commitment in Luke. God's loving call to His people in Philemon. Put them together and what have you got? You've got the reason for carrying a song in your heart, that's what!

What form has the potter given us today? What choices do we make as heirs to the blessings that God has given through his people Israel? What challenges and commitments do we face here and now? It might not surprise you that the answers are the same today as they were hundreds and thousands of years ago. The potter has formed us in His image! The choice we make is still between life and death. The challenges are the same, too--to follow God's call.

This is not to say that everyone is the same. The challenge is answered in many ways. Christians are a people called to follow Christ and invite others to know Him. They do this by inviting in the work place. They do this by inviting in social settings. They do this by answering God's call to ministry. Yes, ministers are still being ordained to lead God's people today. There are those who are formally ordained and recognized by service and ritual. You can find orders of service for ordination on the web. See an ordination service from The Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. There are others who are ordained by less formal means. Consider the message of John the Baptist and the ministry of Christians in the first century. They are different callings, but the challenge is the same--total commitment.

The words to this week's featured hymn were written by J.W. Van Deventer (1855-1939). Like the disciples that Christ addressed in the passage from Luke, Van Deventer struggled with the challenge to follow Christ. Here are his words:

The song was written while I was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, in the home of George Sebring. For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, He caused me to sing.

What did he sing? Here are the words to his song:

1. All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.
2. All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.
3. All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.
4. All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.
5. All to Jesus I surrender;
now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!
I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

What are the words to your song? Can you sing these and mean them in your heart? These are the words that challenge us still today. Accept the challenge. Surrender all.

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.