Suggested Hymns from

Sundays after Pentecost

Proper 13(18)
(Year A)

Unifying Theme:
Great things for the Lord's people

Scripture Theme Hymns
Genesis 32:22-31
Isaiah 55:1-5
Jacob becomes Israel
God's splendor given to His people
315: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
386: Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown
644: Jesus, Joy of Our Desiring
Psalm 17:1-7, 15
Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21
A righteous plea
The Lord's care
362: Nothing but the Blood
562: Jesus, Lord, We Look to Thee
Matthew 14:13-21 Fish and loaves--a miracle of Christ's compassion 381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
623: Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
Romans 9:1-5 Heritage or inheritance 379: Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow
635: Because Thou Hast Said

Featured Hymn
Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown

Hymn #386
Words by Charles Wesley
Music: Traditional Scottish melody, arranged by Carlton R. Young
Tune Name: CANDLER

Jacob experienced the unknown many times during his life. He did not know how his father would react when Jacob tricked his way into receiving a blessing. He did not know how to deal with Esau's rage, or with his dream of angels ascending and descending. He did not know how his uncle Laban would receive him, how he would make his way in the world, or how to deal with being on the receiving end of tricks when Laban arranged for Leah to be his wife instead of Rachel. He did not know how his journey home would go and he feared encountering Esau again.

In Jacob's life of uncertainties, one event stood out even more than the others. Concerned over his impending reunion with Esau, Jacob sent his company ahead and he was left alone to ponder his situation. As evening fell he crossed paths with an unknown traveler, and it was this encounter that would change his name and his future like none before. Jacob wrestled with the stranger until morning. At the end of that fight, Jacob became Israel, and Israel received God's blessing. Unlike Isaac's blessing, though, this one he received without tricks. This blessing he received by God's grace.

This week's featured hymn by Charles Wesley retells the story of Jacob's struggle with the stranger in a unique and wonderful way. The allusions to Jacob's story cannot be missed. "My company is gone." "I am left alone with thee." "I wrestle til the break of day." "Tell me your name." If you read the full text (Hymn #287 in The United Methodist Hymnal), you find even more allusions. At the same time, there is clear New Testament imagery. "Thou diedst for me." "Pure, Universal Love thou art." "To me, to all, thy mercies move." As the tale is told, Wesley uses the first person and places himself into the story. Jacob and Wesley fade alternatively into the narative and then pull back again. In a special and moving way, Wesley shows the eternal love of God spanning across the ages, touching people's lives in every generation.

Charles Wesley felt a connection with Jacob. He struggled with faith in his own life. On the day of Pentecost in 1738 Charles recalled,

I was composing myself to sleep, in quietness and peace, when I heard one come in (Mrs. Musgrave, I thought, by the voice) and say, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise, and believe, and thou shalt be healed of all thy infirmities." . . . I sent her down again to inquire, and felt in the meantime a strange palpitation of the heart. I said, yet feared to say, "I believe, I believe!" . . . Still I felt a violent opposition and reluctance to believe; yet still the Spirit of God strove with my own and the evil spirit, till by degrees he chased away the darkness of my unbelief.

What a wondrous connection Charles must have felt with Jacob at that moment! Jacob, like Charles, had struggled through darkness until God's blessing was given, full and complete with the light of day. The obscure and unknown had become clear and bestowed.

As you read the following verses, recall Jacob's story, ponder Charles' experience, and consider your own need to seek and confront and embrace God's blessings for you.

1. Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
and I am left alone with thee.
With thee all night I mean to stay,
and wrestle till the break of day;
with thee all night I mean to stay,
and wrestle till the break of day.
2. I need not tell thee who I am,
my misery and sin declare;
thyself hast called me by my name,
look on thy hands and read it there.
But who, I ask thee, who art thou?
Tell me thy name, and tell me now.
But who, I ask thee, who art thou?
Tell me thy name, and tell me now.
3. Yield to me now, for I am weak,
but confident in self despair!
Speak to my heart, in blessing speak,
be conqured by my instant prayer.
Speak, or thou never hence shalt move,
and tell me if thy name is Love.
Speak, or thou never hence shalt move,
and tell me if thy name is Love.
4. 'Tis Love! 'tis Love! Thou diedst for me,
I hear thy whisper in my heart.
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
pure, Universal Love thou art.
To me, to all, thy mercies move;
thy nature and thy name is Love.
To me, to all, thy mercies move;
thy nature and thy name is Love.

God is unknown, but He makes Himself known through His nature and His name. Seek the Traveler Unknown. Know His nature and His name. He is Love.

God bless you--
Lection at

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.