Suggested Hymns from

Sundays after Pentecost

Second Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 4(9)

Unifying Theme:
The Lord is God, the Giver of Life
We must answer God's call, not man's

Scripture Theme Hymns
1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39
1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43
The Lord, He is God!
Solomon's prayer for answering prayers
75: All People That on Earth Do Dwell
266: Heal Us, Emmanuel, Hear Our Prayer
Psalm 96
Psalm 96:1-9
Great is the Lord! 96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above
116: The God of Abraham Praise
417: O For a Heart to Praise My God
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
Luke 7:1-10 Prayers answered, just as Solomon asked 256: We Would See Jesus
266: Heal Us, Emmanuel, Hear Our Prayer
Galatians 1:1-12 Being called to a Biblical faith, not to cultural Christianity 315: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
710: Faith of Our Fathers

Featured Hymn
God of the Ages

Hymn #698
Text by Daniel C. Roberts
Music by George W. Warren

There are times when we overcome challenges even though we know that we are not equal to the task. We may not be strong enough. We may not know enough. We may not have sufficient resources. Whatever the obstacles, though, we survive. We overcome. We endure.

This week's featured hymn was written by Rev. Daniel C. Roberts. It is worth pausing for a moment to consider his background. Roberts was born in New York in 1841. As he grew he experienced first-hand the tensions rising between the northern and southern states over slavery and states rights. He was powerless to alter its course. When the Civil War broke out he served Union forces in the 84th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. As a private, once again he was powerless to influence his circumstances. Abraham Lincoln was President. In his famous Gettysburg Address, Lincoln acknowledged the pressing question that must have weighed on the minds and hearts of every American--can a nation like the United States long endure?

We know the answer to that question today. The nation did endure. As most Americans of the time did, President Lincoln sought and followed his understanding of God's divine will for the nation, declaring at his second inauguration, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Under this leadership and philosophy, the American Civil War came to an end. The union of states was preserved. Little more than a decade later the nation would turn 100 years old. 

With this historical backdrop Roberts wrote this week's featured hymn under the title God of Our Fathers. He explained its origin in a letter:

The hymn was written in 1876 for a cel­e­bra­tion of the Cen­ten­n­i­al "Fourth" of July, and sung at Bran­don, Ver­mont, to the tune called Russ­ian Hymn! When our Gen­er­al Con­ven­tion ap­point­ed a Com­miss­ion to re­vise the Hymn­al, I sent it, with­out my name, prom­is­ing to send the name if the hymn were ac­cept­ed. It was ac­cept­ed and print­ed anon­y­mous­ly in the re­port of the Com­mis­sion. Be­fore the Hymn­al was print­ed, the Rev­er­end Dr. Tuck­er, late of Troy, ed­it­or of our best mu­sic­al Hymn­al, and Mr. George Will­iam War­ren, or­gan­ist of St. Thom­as’ Church, New York, were ap­point­ed to choose a hymn for the cen­ten­ni­al cel­e­bra­tion of the adopt­ion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. They se­lect­ed this hymn, then anon­y­mous, and want­ing a tune, Mr. War­ren com­posed a tune to which it has since been set in the "Tucker" Hymn­al.

The committee preparing the 1989 edition of The United Methodist Hymnal adopted a version of the hymn which substitutes "God of the ages" in the first line. Here are the words.

1. God of the ages, whose almighty hand
leads forth in beauty all the starry band
of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
our grateful songs before thy throne arise.
2. Thy love divine hath led us in the past;
in this free land with thee our lot is cast;
be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay,
thy Word our law, thy paths our chosen way.
3. From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
be thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
thy true religion in our hearts increase;
thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
4. Refresh thy people on their toilsome way;
lead us from night to never-ending day;
fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.

God, who watched over Roberts through the ravages of the Civil War and inspired him to pen the words of this hymn, is still almighty, still leads, still loves, and still blesses us today. May we offer all glory, laud, and praise to the Lord today, just as Roberts did in his time.

God bless you--
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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.