Baptism of the Lord
|Isaiah 43:1-7||God of Redemption||57: O For a Thousand Tongues
88: Maker in Whom We Live
98: To God Be the Glory
417: O For a Heart to Praise My God
573: O Zion, Haste
714: I Know Whom I Have Believed
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
|Psalm 29||God of Glory and Strength||61: Come, Thou Almighty
64: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
110: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
116: The God of Abraham Praise
127: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
152: I Sing the Almighty Power of God
154: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
155: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
574: God of Love and God of Power
|Luke 3:15-17, 21-22||God of Spirit and Fire||422: Jesus, Thine All-Victorious
465: Holy Spirit, Truth Divine
539: O Spirit of the Living God
603: Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire
|Acts 8:14-17||God to all the World||96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns
126: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
144: This Is My Father's World
327: Crown Him With Many Crowns
580: Lead On, O King Eternal
So often we arrive at a destination only to find that we have not reached the end at all. Instead, we have arrived at the beginning. For example, birthdays mark the ends of years. You are not one-year-old until you have completed that first year. But when you come to that date, life continues. You have not come to the end. Instead, you have come to "the first day of the rest of your life."
The birth of Christ marked the end of our wait for the arrival of God's promised Savior. God's people had awaited that event anxiously for many centuries. However, even though the wait was over, the mission of Christ had only begun. Jesus would grow and learn and work for three decades, and the end of that time marked the beginning of his three years of ministry. The end of his ministry marked the beginning of his reign. This compares wonderfully with this season of the year. As with Christ's ministry which followed his birth, the end of the Christmas season only brings us to another beginning--a season of "ordinary time" called the Sundays after Epiphany. During this season we often recall and consider stories and teachings that mark beginnings. For example, we remember the baptism of Jesus which marked the beginning of his ministry.
This week's featured hymn is a hymn of endings and beginnings, too. It was written in 1887 by Ernest Shurtleff (1862-1917) for graduation commencement exercises at Andover College. Just consider the words "graduation commencement." The first word recognizes completion, while the last word recognizes beginnings.
Shurtleff, himself a member of that class, wrote what some refer to as the "Christian's victory theme." It is filled with images of the successful conclusion of battles, but then moves immediately to recognize "the sweet Amen of peace." Look for for endings and beginnings as you read the words of the hymn.
|1. Lead on, O King eternal,
the day of march has come;
henceforth in fields of conquest
thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
thy grace has made us strong;
and now, O King eternal,
we lift our battle song.
|2. Lead on, O King eternal,
till sin's fierce war shall cease,
and holiness shall whisper
the sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords loud clashing,
nor roll of stirring drums;
with deeds of love and mercy
the heavenly kingdom comes.
The tune LANCASHIRE is a popular melody written by Henry T. Smart. It is used for singing many hymns including The Day of Resurrection; Go, Make of All Disciples; and Lead On, O King Eternal, which appear in the United Methodist Hymnal. Smart also wrote REGENT SQUARE, to which we sing Angels from the Realms of Glory and Easter People, Raise Your Voices.
May you find satisfaction in your endings, and purpose in your beginnings.
God bless you--
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.|