First Sunday after Pentecost
|Genesis 1:1-2:4a||Creation--God said it was good||126: Sing Praise to God Who
144: This is My Father's World
658: This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made
688: God, That Madest Earth and Heaven
|Psalm 8||Creation--man said it is awesome||92: For the Beauty of the
96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above
139: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
715: Rejoice, the Lord Is King
|Matthew 28:16-20||Commissioned to go||436: The Voice of God Is
454: Open My Eyes, That I May See
|2 Corinthians 13:11-13||Aim for perfection||528: Nearer, My God, to
539: O Spirit of the Living God
The scriptures this week begin "in the beginning." They carry through to "the end of the age." How long is that? God alone knows when "the beginning" was and when "the end" will be. As we open the book of Genesis, God is the only one mentioned. This passage seems fitting as we open onto the longest period in the Christian calendar, the Sundays following Pentecost. In recognizing God's role as the one and only actor in the beginning, we come to understand not only the fact that He is the central figure in all of history, but why He plays that central role. He made the earth and everything in it. It all came from Him, and it all belongs to Him. This is His world.
This week's featured hymn was written by Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901). He was a man of many talents, and it seems that he pursued just about every one of them. He was strong in academics, very athletic, and could also sing and play several musical instruments. "Life is what we are alive to. It is not length but breadth. . . . Be alive to . . . goodness, kindness, purity, love, history, poetry, music, flowers, stars, God, and eternal hope," he said. Although he had a wide range of interests that he could have pursued, Babcock chose ordained ministry. His gifts in delivering God's Word from the pulpit were widely recognized, and he was sought after as a speaker.
Babcock taught a bold, confident faith, facing life's events head on and looking for the blessings in them. Listen to the boldness in these words:
The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a man's business but build up his character. The blow at the outward man may be the greatest blessing to the inner man. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is that we shall lose if we flinch or rebel.
His first ministry appointment was at a church in Lockport, New York. The story is told that he went on a four-mile run each day through a scenic area, and each time he would say, "I'm going out to see my Father's world." It was an ordinary statement of an ordinary routine in an ordinary world, but it reflected Babcock's appreciation for the extraordinary opportunity that faced him each day. Where would he hear his Father today? Where would he see Him? What joys were in store for him on this trip? Many people have speculated that the inspiration for the words to this week's hymn came from these journeys. Think about the sites and sensations woven into these verses.
|1. This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.
|2. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.
This is our Father's world. God reigns. The world is glad. You can be glad, too.
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.|