Second Sunday in Lent
|Genesis 12:1-4a||Go at God's direction||116: The God of Abraham
436: The Voice of God Is Calling
|Psalm 121||God is the help of His people||110: A Mighty Fortress Is
117: O God, Our Help in Ages Past
|There are things we ought to know
There are things we should watch and learn
|454: Open My Eyes, That I
463: Lord, Speak to Me
|Romans 4:1-5, 13-17||Righteousness by grace through faith||385: Let Us Plead for Faith
452: My Faith Looks Up to Thee
The history of the human condition that we find in the opening chapters of the Bible paints a bleak picture. First came Adam and Eve and "the fall." In the very next generation we find the story of Cain and Able and the first recorded crime of murder. From there, humanity continued on a downward spiral toward self destruction and the flood.
God's mercy and care are seen throughout the stories, though. Although Cain killed his brother, God warned others against harming him. Unfortunately, Cain's descendants didn't seem to improve in character. Lamech, Cain's great-grandson, bragged of killing men and practically defied anyone to do anything about it. Yet God gave Lamech a son named Jubal, the "father of all who play the harp and flute." Evil continued to grow in the world, but God looked and saw Noah, "a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Gen. 6:9). God told Noah to build an ark. An ark! And Noah did it, just because God told him to. Noah and his family survived the flood. All others died.
What Noah did was remarkable in his day. He put his faith in God. We are challenged to do the same remarkable thing today--put our faith in God. This week's featured hymn, My Faith Looks Up to Thee, was written by Ray Palmer (1808-1887). From the very first verse, this hymn builds upon a theme of faith, grace, and salvation. It acknowledges guilt and cries out to have it removed. It calls for love from grace, relief from sorrow, and life from death. What a powerful message of grace that ransoms the guilty soul--the soul of someone who suffers from the human condition. Here is the text of the hymn:
|1. My faith looks up to thee,
thou Lamb of Calvary,
Now hear me while I pray,
take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
be wholly thine!
|2. May thy rich grace impart
strength to my fainting heart,
my zeal inspire!
As thou hast died for me,
O may my love to thee
pure, warm, and changeless be,
a living fire!
|3. While life's dark maze I tread,
and griefs around me spread,
be thou my guide;
bid darkness turn to day,
wipe sorrow's tears away,
nor let me ever stray
from thee aside.
|4. When ends life's transient dream,
when death's cold, sullen stream
shall o'er me roll;
blest Savior, then in love,
fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above,
a ransomed soul!
Can you sing these words in your heart? Where is your faith? Does it look up to God?
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
|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.|