Second Sunday During Lent
|Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16||God's covenant to Abram||116: The God of Abraham Praise|
|Psalm 22:23-31||Lord over the nations||189: Fairest Lord Jesus
569: We've a Story to Tell to the Nations
|Christ rebukes Peter
|203: Hail to the Lord's Annointed
258: O Wondrous Sight! O Vision Fair
606: Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine
|Romans 4:13-25||God's promise received through faith||234: O Come, All Ye Faithful
710: Faith of Our Fathers
To know where we are going, it is often helpful to know where we have been. Tracing the steps we have taken and extending that line gives us an idea where the path is leading. The path may point to a place we want to be, and we stay the course. If the path leads somewhere else, then we know that we need to make a change. The writer of this week's featured hymn found an opportunity to change.
Thomas Olivers was born in Wales in the 18th century. He was orphaned at the age of four and grew up leading a wild life. One day while in Bristol, England, though, he heard George Whitefield preach and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. John Wesley subsequently persuaded Olivers to become an evangelist in the Methodist movement. He traveled through England and Ireland preaching the gospel.
Four centuries ealier, Daniel ben Judah had been a Jewish judge in Rome. He is credited with writing the Yigdal, or Hebrew confession of faith, based on the thirteen creeds of Moses Maimonides. Olivers states that he wrote this hymn after hearing Meyer Lyon (Leoni), a well-known Jewish cantor, sing the Yigdal. Olivers was so moved by the music that soon he began preparing words to fit to the meter of the tune he had heard. He based the words largely on the themes of the Yigdal, but revised them to conform with Christian theology. The United Methodist Hymnal includes only four of the original stanzas.
|1. The God of Abraham praise,
who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of Everlasting Days,
and God of Love;
Jehovah, great I AM!
by earth and heaven confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred name
|2. The great I AM has sworn;
I on this oath depend.
I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
to heaven ascend.
I shall behold God's face;
I shall God's power adore,
and sing the wonders of God's grace
|3. The heavenly land I see,
with peace and plenty blest;
a land of sacred liberty,
and endless rest.
There milk and honey flow,
and oil and wine abound,
and trees of life forever grow
with mercy crowned.
|4. The God who reigns on high
the great archangels sing,
and "Holy, holy, holy!" cry
Who was, and is, the same,
and evermore shall be:
Jehovah, Lord, the great I AM,
we worship thee!"
Olivers found blessing in Whitefield's words, and saw that his path and the path to salvation were different. Olivers found in the Yigdal a path that leads toward a holy life. He took the words to heart and them them his own. May we have the same courage that helps us to seek and follow the same path that Olivers found.
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.|