Suggested Hymns from

Sundays after Pentecost

Proper 9(14)

Unifying Theme:
Comfort in the Lord and honor in His service

Scripture Theme Hymns
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Zechariah 9:9-12
Isaac comforted in Rebekah
Israel to rejoice in the coming of the king
61: Come, Thou Almighty King
540: I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord
Psalm 145:8-14
Psalm 45:10-17
A God of compassion and comfort
Honor in answering the king's call
436: The Voice of God Is Calling
472: Near to the Heart of God
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 God's servants rejected by men; a light burden for those who will accept it 297: Beneath the Cross of Jesus
359: Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed
467: Trust and Obey
685: Now, on Land and Sea Descending
723: Shall We Gather at the River
Romans 7:15-25a Good and evil--Christ saves us from our sinful self 369: Blessed Assurance
378: Amazing Grace
616: Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast

Featured Hymn
Near to the Heart of God

Hymn #472
Text and Music: Cleland B. McAfee
Tune: MCAFEE, Meter: CM with Refrain

There are sounds and settings that create their own atmospheres. A child's giggle makes people smile. A creaking door can send shivers down your spine. In Paris, love is in the air. On Wall Street, everything is business. Everywhere we go, everything we see, and everything we hear influence us in many ways. As enjoyable as they can be, though, sometimes we need to step back from these external influences. We have to make time for special, quiet moments when we can simply reflect on ourselves and our relationship with God our creator.

This week's featured hymn was written in 1901 by Cleland McAfee, a Presbyterian minister who lived in Chicago. One day he received news that two nieces had died from diphtheria. Grieving from the loss, he turned to the words of the Psalmist. As he read the scriptures, he was inspired to write the words and the tune to “Near to the Heart of God.” McAfee delivered the first public performance of the hymn at the girls' funeral. The hymn became popular immediately and it spread quickly.

Although it was written in the shadow of the loss of loved ones and is often used during funerals, the hymn should not be limited to times of grief. The text guides us to refuge and comfort. It leads us to the presence of our Savior. It searches the depths of our souls and proclaims release and joy and peace for each one of us today. In your devotions--the special time that you devote to your personal relationship with God--take this hymn with you and read these words prayerfully:

1. There is a place of quiet rest,
near to the heart of God;
a place where sin cannot molest,
near to the heart of God.
2. There is a place of comfort sweet,
near to the heart of God;
a place where we our Savior meet,
near to the heart of God.
3. There is place a place of full release,
near to the heart of God;
a place where all is joy and peace,
near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
sent from the heart of God,
hold us who wait before thee
near to the heart of God.

What is influencing your life today? Do you need a quiet place that is free of evil? A place full of joy? A place of communion with Christ? McAfee found it and was inspired to write a guide to go there. The place is near to the heart of God. May each of us find this place today and every day.

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.