Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 27, 1998
Amos 6:1a, 4-7
|There is a good future--be ready for it
Even in your plenty, grieve for those who have fallen
|430: O Master, Let Me Walk
591: Rescue the Perishing
|Dwelling in the house of the Lord
Trust in God
|337: Only Trust Him
388: O Come and Dwell in Me
|Luke 16:19-31||Lazarus and the rich man||452: My Faith Looks Up to
480: O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
|1 Timothy 6:6-19||Money--a root of all kinds of evil||142: If Thou Shalt But Suffer God to Guide Thee|
As with sermons or any other prepared communication, there are many approaches to writing hymns. Two very prominent approaches are paraphrasing a single passage of scripture, and developing a broader scriptural theme. Charles Wesley was a master of the second of these. Charles and his brother John were vocal and active participants in many of the social reforms that marked religious upheaval during the period of the Great Awakening. John spoke to issues such as visiting prisoners, feeding the hungry, and caring for the poor. He was adamantly opposed to slavery and drunkenness. The Wesleys took their faith to the streets, where they called for immediate, tangible action to alleviate suffering, and a continual effort to strive on toward Christian perfection.
The passages in this week's Lectionary scriptures tie to themes of Christian perfection, both in spirit and in deed. The passage from Timothy in particular focuses on the inherent danger of money. The writer of the epistle says, "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." (NIV). What a marvelous message! Don't be eager for money. Flee from wanderings, wounds, and woes. Pursue righteousness.
In the words of this week's featured hymn, Charles Wesley captured the hunger for righteousness and the desire to dwell with God. Read them. Enjoy them. Own them. Live them.
|1. O come and dwell in me,
Spirit of power within,
and bring the glorious liberty
from sorrow, fear, and sin.
|2. Hasten the joyful day
which shall my sins consume,
when old things shall be done away,
and all things new become.
|3. I want the witness, Lord,
that all I do is right,
according to thy mind and word,
well-pleasing in thy sight.
|4. I ask no higher state;
indulge me but in this,
and soon or later then translate
to thine eternal bliss.
May the Spirit of Christ, himself one in our triune God, dwell in you and grant you glorious liberty and eternal bliss.
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.|