Sundays after Pentecost
|Manna for Israel and salvation for Nineveh||631: O Food to Pilgrims
672: God Be with You till We Meet Again
673: God Be with You till We Meet Again
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
|God's great works for His people||96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns
98: To God Be the Glory
|Matthew 20:1-16||The master who provides full measure for the servants he calls||130: God Will Take Care of
694: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
|Philippians 1:21-30||Fruitful labor for the Lord||438: Forth in Thy Name, O
688: God, That Madest Earth and Heaven
Think of the loveliest, most peaceful outdoor place you have ever been, and your fondest memory of that place. Perhaps it was near a lake or a river. Perhaps it was high up on a mountain or deep in a lush valley. It could even be in a calm, dry desert, with cactus flowers in bloom. In these places, we understand how God looked upon the creation and saw that it was "very good."
Now shift your focus just a little bit. Consider the most glorious building or room you have entered--one that made you stop short as you crossed the threshhold just because of the atmosphere. Maybe it was a church sanctuary or a grand ballroom. Perhaps a palace or other government building. The very surroundings instill a sense of awe.
Whatever our glorious images may be, though, and no matter how spectacular our imaginations, they all pale in comparison to Zion, the perfect city of God. This week's featured hymn was written by John Newton (1725-1807), who also wrote Amazing Grace. This man, once a "captain of industry" in the slave trade, became convicted of his sinfulness. It is a wonderful story to think that this man who was once so blind to God's love for all people, was so changed through the amazing grace of God and then set the focus of his whole life on the glory of Zion. More wonderful, though, is the truth that we can all set our eyes toward Zion and join the path that John Newton found, no matter how dark our past may be.
As you read the words and sing the hymn, let the images of God's holy city inspire you to follow the disciples' path of salvation through Jesus Christ that ultimately brings us to Zion.
|1. Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
God, whose word cannot be broken,
formed thee for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
thou mayst smile at all thy foes.
|2. See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
|3. Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near!
Thus deriving from our banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe we feed upon the manna
which God gives us when we pray.
|4. Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in our Redeemer's blood;
Jesus, whom our souls rely on,
makes us monarchs, priests to God.
Us, by his great love, he raises,
rulers over self to reign,
and as priests his solemn praises
we for thankful offering bring.
Set your heart and your eyes on Zion. The journey will be challenging. Arrival will be the fullest reward.
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.|