Fifth Sunday in Easter
|Acts 7:55-60||The man of God||110: A Mighty Fortress Is
576: Rise Up, O Men of God
|Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16||The servant of God||101: From All That Dwell
Below the Skies
181: Ye Servants of God
|John 14:1-14||The Son of God||85: We Believe in One True
189: Fairest Lord Jesus
|1 Peter 2:2-10||The people of God||569: We've a Story to Tell
to the Nations
662: Stand Up and Bless the Lord
Sometimes we have difficulty understanding why other people do or say certain things. Sometimes we ask them, "Where are you coming from?" We probably aren't interested to know whether they came from home or from the office. We are not trying to find out if they are from a foreign country. It doesn't really matter where they came from physically. Instead, this question asks another person to put their views in perspective. The answer can help people understand the needs behind the actions. People asking for directions may be "coming from" a place, but they are also "coming from" a desire not to be lost. People asking the bank for money may be "coming from" a house, but they are also "coming from" a desire to buy a home. When we understand where people are "coming from," we understand their frame of reference. We can have a better appreciation for what they say and do, and why they say and do it.
The Lectionary scriptures this week reveal where several people "come from." Stephen came from an unshakable commitment to follow Christ. The Psalmist came from a need for God's care and protection. Christ made Himself quite clear--He came from the Father. And Peter told us where we all came from--we came from not being a people at all, and now we are the people of God. All of these are different, but all come from one place. The man of God, the servant of God, the Son of God, and the people of God all bring something in common. We all "come from" God. God is our frame of reference.
This week's featured hymn was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788). Sometimes identified as "the first Methodist" because of a label given to the members of the "Holy Club" that he founded at Oxford, he is known as the writer of almost 9,000 hymns. Charles openly accepted people wherever they came from. This can be seen from his days at Oxford where he invited a poorer Oxford man, George Whitefield, to share breakfast with him, breaking school rules by doing so. He also actively promoted prison ministries. Indeed, his welcoming spirit can even be seen in the inscription on a statue of him which says, "O let me commend my Savior to you."
Charles Wesley understood where servants of God should be "coming from." God must be our frame of reference. God must be our motivation. In reaching out to God, in reaching out to people, in all that we say and do, we should be coming from God. Read the power and conviction in these words.
|1. Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,
and publish abroad his wonderful name;
the name all-victorious of Jesus extol,
his kingdom is glorious and rules over all.
|2. God ruleth on high, almighty to save,
and still he is nigh, his presence we have;
the great congregation his triumph shall sing,
ascribing salvation to Jesus, our King.
|3. "Salvation to God, who sits on the throne!"
Let all cry aloud and honor the Son;
the praises of Jesus the angels proclaim,
fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.
|4. Then let us adore and give him his right,
all glory and power, all wisdom and might;
all honor and blessing with angels above,
and thanks never ceasing and infinite love.
Where are you coming from? What is your frame of reference? Why do you say and do things?
Be men of God. Be women of God. Be servants of God. Be people of God. Whatever you do and whatever you are, be "of God!"
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.|