Seventh Sunday After Epiphany
|Isaiah 43:18-25||Lord of new things||388: O Come, and Dwell in Me
545: The Church's One Foundation
|Psalm 41||Merciful Lord and merciful servants||139: Praise to the Lord, the
355: Depth of Mercy
|Mark 2:1-12||The Lord heals body and soul||163: Ask Ye What Great Thing I
266: Heal Us, Emmanuel, Hear Our Prayer
|2 Corinthians 1:18-22||The Lord of "Yes"||191: Jesus Loves Me
567: Heralds of Christ
Past traditions come to us through the ages. Actions of today determine traditions that will carry on to the future.
This week's featured hymn was written by Joachim Neander (1650-1680). Though he lived only thirty years, his life and his heritage were steeped in wonderful traditions, and by a surprising twist, his name is carried forward in the scientific community today. Neander was the fifth in a line of Protestant ministers in his family tree named Joachim. All had been powerful preachers, and by tradition alone, Neander had the attention of his community.
He started his youth as something of a prodigal. The story is told that one day, he and his friends went to a church service to make fun of the speaker. As Neander listened to the message, though, his heart was touched and his mind was changed. He reconsidered his plans, and his attentions turned to things that were at least somewhat less prodigal, but he still had a very independent streak.
That independent streak nearly led to his death. One day he was chasing an animal through the woods. He chased so far and so long that he was unable to return home before the sun set. In the daylight, the hills in this area were dangerous. In the dark, they were deadly. It was not long before Neander found himself on the brink of falling from a high precipice. Frozen with fear, he prayed to God for help. As Neander related the story, God gave him the courage and strength to move away from the danger. From that day on, Neander devoted himself entirely to serving God.
At age 24, he became head master of a grammar school owned by the Reformed Church in Dusseldorf. The school did well, but Neander could not confine his interests to work. He enjoyed the woods and the hills, and frequently wandered in the countryside. There was a cave in the hills that he especially enjoyed, and he would conduct meetings there to discuss the Bible and various beliefs espoused by the new Protestant sects such as Lutherans and Calvinists. These meetings had not been approved by the local elders, who arrived at the school one day in in 1678 to publicly remove Neander from his post. After that, Neander spent even more time at the cave. He was so closely associated with this place that the area came to be known as the "Neander Valley," and the cave itself as "Neander's cave." Almost two centuries later, evidence of "Neanderthal man" was found in this place.
It is intriguing that the name of this powerful preacher of faith should become connected with a fossil record that is relied on by some scientists as evidence of evolution. Having lived and roamed that very valley, though, Neander clearly stated his conclusion--"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!" Creation is here because God spoke. God looked at the creation and called it good. Consider your origins, the source of your existence, as you read the words of this week's featured hymn:
|1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation.
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near;
join me in glad adoration!
|3. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
who with his love doth befriend thee.
|5. Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.
(translations of the second and fourth stanzas omitted due to copyright restrictions) You are a creation of God. You are created to adore the creator. Take time to experience the joy that comes from praising the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
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.|