Sundays after Pentecost
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
|Water from the rock
Personal accountability before God
|361: Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
413: A Charge to Keep I Have
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
|Passing on the knowledge
Personal accountability before God
|103: Immortal, Invisible, God Only
156: I Love to Tell the Story
357: Just as I Am, Without One Plea
569: We've a Story to Tell to the Nations
|Matthew 21:23-32||Doing the Master's will||381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead
382: Have Thine Own Way, Lord
436: The Voice of God Is Calling
454: Open My Eyes, That I May See
|Philippians 2:1-13||The attitude of Christ||417: O For a Heart to Praise My
444: O Young and Fearless Prophet
The Christian faith is rich in symbols. Many come to us from Hebrew traditions. Others began with Christ himself. A few are common to both. The rock is one of these. When Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending from Heaven, his pillow was a rock. When the Hebrews were in the wilderness and grew thirsty, God provided water from a rock. When the Hebrews built memorials to remember God's great works, they did so with rocks. When Peter proclaimed the divine mission of Christ, Jesus called him a rock. When the house of the wise man withstood the winds and storms, it is because it was built on the rock. The words about rocks go on and on. In fact, the Bible contains more than 120 references to rocks.
What is so special about rocks? Look at their qualities. They are solid. They support and hold things in place. They are consistent. They provide a foundation. Even when they are broken or cracked, God can use them to provide water for His people. If people failed to acknowledge Christ, our Lord said that the rocks themselves would have done so. At the most basic level of creation, the rocks of creation know and love their Creator.
This week's featured hymn was written by Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778). According to one story, Toplady wrote the hymn under a rocky overhang while taking shelter from a storm. No one is certain whether this is true, but it is a telling story of the Christian's reliance on Christ for protection and salvation. With the storms of life raging around us, we are not only protected in Christ, but are able to take time and reflect upon the amazing salvation offered freely to us. How often do we contemplate our salvation so deeply? God bless the storms of life that inspired Toplady to pen these words:
|1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
|2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
|3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to the for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
|4. While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
May we all find protection and salvation in Christ, the Rock of Ages.
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.|