Rejoice and Give Thanks!

I started working on this post last week with every intention of posting it last Friday afternoon. Obviously I didn’t, and just barely got “Songs for Sunday” out. Last week’s song fit the kind of week I was having. You know the kind; when it seems that nothing goes right, and everything you put your hand to turns to slop. I was really getting discouraged. We all have times like that, but how we handle them can make a big difference in our lives, and the lives of those around us. This week wasn’t that much better, but my attitude has been, and that has made all the difference.

Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi, probably when he was under house arrest in Rome. Philippians is a wonderfully encouraging letter from a man who was in difficult circumstances. If you haven’t read it recently, I encourage you to revisit. If you have never read it, you need to. God as a lot to say to you there. Toward the end of the letter, Paul writes,

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:4-9)

This is about renewing our minds; changing the way we think. In Romans 12, Paul says,

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:2)

That sounds challenging, doesn’t it?

Take another look at the passage from Philippians. While we are rejoicing, not being anxious, praying and petitioning, there is a little phrase that might get overlooked: “with thanksgiving”.  We’re supposed to be thankful.  In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul said that they should be

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:20)

and to the church in Thessalonica, he says,

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:18)

I know what you’re thinking. Always giving thanks? Rejoice Always? Only think about good things? Are you crazy?

No I’m not, and neither was Paul. He had discovered something, and so have many others in the two millennia since. I think I’m just starting to get it…Sometimes the key for me isn’t getting it, but remembering it for more than 30 seconds, but that’s another blog post.

When I started writing last week, I just had an inkling of what God was trying to tell me, but I couldn’t quite grasp it. (I’m so glad God is patient!) We had one of those “one thing after another” weeks. We had plumbing issues, animal issues, home school issues and work schedule issues. We were all tired and getting snappy.

Then, a few days ago, I was reading the devotional book based on Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, when I caught a glimmer of understanding. She writes about a time when her sons were fighting at the breakfast table, and she was super angry (I can relate to that), and at the same time she’s asking God for guidance (I can relate to that too…when you just want to wring their little necks, but you’re pretty sure that isn’t part of God’s plan). For two or three pages, she relives the struggle and then the epiphany. She writes,

“How did Jesus do it again? He turned His eyes. ‘And looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave…’ (Matthew 14:19) He looked up to heaven, to see where this moment comes from. Always first the eyes, the focus. I can’t leave crowds for mountaintop, daily blur for Walden Pond – but there is always the possibility of the singular vision. I remember: Contemplative simplicity isn’t a matter of circumstances, it’s a matter of focus. I take a deep breath, say nothing to them, but I look up to heaven, and give thanks aloud, in a whisper: ‘Father, thank You for these two sons. Thank You for here and now. Thank You that You don’t leave us in our mess.’ My heart rate slows. Something hard inside softens, opens and this thanks aloud feels mechanical. But I can feel the heart gears working. ‘Thank You for toast. Thank You for Cross-grace for this anger, for the hope of forgiveness, and brothers and new mercies.’ I look for the ugly-beautiful, count it as grace, transfigure the mess into joy with thanks and eucharisteo leaves the paper, finds the way to the eyes, the lips.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional, p. 155. If you’re not familiar with Ann Voskamp, you can check her out here.)

I finished with tears in my eyes. I understood. When we give thanks, our circumstances may not change, but we do. I said, “Lord, thank you that I can sit here and read Your word, and this book. Thank you that I have eyes to see and a mind to understand. Thank you that I can sit here in freedom. Thank you for this table and chair, for the pen in my hand.” Yes, I felt a little silly, but I also felt better.

I knew I needed to share this insight with my husband, but I also knew that his week was going like mine. We had some exasperating plumbing problems, but I decided to put what I had read in Philippians and in Ann’s book to practice. I said, “Lord, I thank you that we have indoor plumbing and running water. Thank you that we have the tools we need to fix the problem and the hands to use them.”

Ed may have thought that I had lost it for a minute, but I think the Lord enlightened him too. A little while later, he said that when he was a kid, he lived in a house with “four rooms and a path”, and that our home is a mansion by comparison. Yes, we are incredibly blessed. Now, we’re both trying give thanks always. I have a feeling its going to be one of those things we need to constantly remind each other about, like being mindful of what comes out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29).

However, we need to give thanks in all things, including those things that we might not normally be thankful for.  That’s challenging too. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to help us.

The following YouTube video, posted by Route66EBC, is an excerpt from The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom. The video is about ten minutes long, but it is a remarkable story about how God honors gratitude.

Have a wonderful week, and remember to give thanks!

Connie

 

Songs for Sunday: Need You Now

Christian Artist Plumb wrote and recorded the song I Need You Now in 2013. In this recording she says she drew on her own experience with anxiety while writing the song.

Need You Now (How Many Times)

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now

For many of us, anxiety, depression, bi polar, and other disorders are an every day fact of life. For others, circumstances become overwhelming. Those of us who belong to the Lord often echo Plumbs words “God please take this!”  Some times he does. Sometimes he says “My grace is sufficient”, and it is.

See you in church. Remember that person sitting next to you in the pew might be hurting and need some encouragement. Maybe that’s why God sat you next to them.

Connie

Songs For Sunday: I Am Loved

1 John 4:19 says,

We love because he first loved us.

Back in the 70’s, Bill Gaither wrote a simple little song with simple little message.

I Am Loved

CHORUS
I am loved, I am loved
I can risk loving you
For the One who knows me best
Loves me most
I am loved you are loved
Won’t you please take my hand
We are free to love each other
We are loved

VERSE 1
I said if You knew You wouldn’t want me
My scars are hidden by the face I wear
He said my child My scars go deeper
It was love for you that put them there

CHORUS

VERSE 2
Forgiven I repeat it I’m forgiven
Clean before my Lord, I freely stand
Forgiven I can dare to love my brother
Forgiven I reach out to take your hand

CHORUS

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We are free to love each other, we are loved

The Bill Gaither Trio recorded it, and the simple little song was an enormous hit! It became the theme for their concerts.  My step dad took me to see them that year. I think I was about 15.

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Flyer from the concert I attended
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The inside of the flyer with a message from the Gaithers on the left, and the song lyrics on the right.
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A closeup of the message from the Gaithers.

Everyone was wearing these pins. Churches were giving them out.

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 I Am Loved Pin

Yes, I am a pack rat.

You can hear the original Bill Gaither Trio recording here, but I’m adding a live version by the Gaither Vocal Band, posted to YouTube by nashvillehigh. At the beginning, Bill talks about those concerts back in the 70’s.

The message hasn’t changed.

I am loved!

You are loved!

See you in church!

Connie

 

Love Your Neighbor

This week, my husband and I have been working on a pet project of mine. We’re turning our living room into a library. Although there are more shelves to finish, we brought in several boxes of books that have been stored in the barn for the last two and half years so that I could start sorting them. Many of those books belonged to my grandpa who, as I’ve told you before, was a preacher. I’m talking Bible commentaries, sermon notes, books on Christian living, etc. What always surprises me is the number of books he kept, with whose authors he disagreed. I know this because he would often write a scathing one or two sentence commentary inside the front cover or on the end pages of the offending work. I think he didn’t want what he considered bad information getting into innocent hands. Any time I pick up one of his books, I always look for those remarks. Then I make a mental note to read it myself and see what the problem was. Grandpa came from a time when annotating books was commonplace, so I can sometimes see what he was thinking as he read these books. That goes for the “good” ones too. That is a treasure to me now because, while Grandpa is still living, his mind is a victim of dementia.

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One of Grandpa’s comments. He wrote, “This book is not fit for man or beast”. This is a three volume set from the 19th century. He wrote the same thing in all three volumes.

This week, as I was sorting through the books, I found a small book called “The Greatest Thing in the World” by a man called Henry Drummond. For some reason, I picked it up and flipped through it. It is a short book, only 63 pages, but what a powerful message. The subject of the book is 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the Love chapter. Mr. Drummond’s message is that the kind of love described in that chapter is indeed, the “greatest thing in the world”. The reason I am sharing this with you now, is because of one passage I read. I felt like God was telling me I was on the right track for this post which I had been working on since last week. It was a passage that Grandpa had also marked so he could find it again. Coincidence, you say? Maybe, but I was sorting close to a thousand books. What are the odds? I’ll post what I read further down. Oh, the book was written in the 1880’s.

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Last week, we talked about Loving God. Now we’re going to talk about loving others.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

The Old Testament command to “love your neighbor as yourself” comes from Leviticus 19.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Lev 19:18)

and

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Lev 19:34)

What Jesus is saying, is that obeying those two commandments will cover all the rest of the law. If you love God, you will want to do what He says. You will do what he tells you to do, and not do what He forbids. Additionally, if you love your neighbor as yourself, you are going to treat them well, leaving you to, again, be obedient to the law.

This is what Mr. Drummond said in his little book.

 “And you remember the profound remark which Paul makes elsewhere, ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Did you ever think what he meant by that? In those days men were working their passage to Heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments, and the hundred and ten other commandments which they had manufactured out of them. Christ said, I will show you a more simple way. If you do one thing, you will do these hundred and ten things, without ever thinking about them. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfil the whole law. And you can readily see for yourselves how that must be so. Take any of the commandments. ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.’ If a man love God, you will not require to tell him that. Love is the fulfilling of that law. ‘Take not His name in vain.’ Would he ever dream of taking His name in vain if he loved Him? ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ Would he not be too glad to have one day in seven to dedicate more exclusively to the object of his affection? Love would fulfil all these laws regarding God. And so, if he loved Man, you would never think of telling him to honour his father and mother. He could not do anything else. It would be preposterous to tell him not to kill. You could only insult him if you suggested that he should not steal -.how could he steal from those he loved? It would be superfluous to beg him not to bear false witness against his neighbour. If he loved him it would be the last thing he would do. And you would never dream of urging him not to covet what his neighbours had. He would rather they possessed it than himself. In this way ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ It is the rule for fulfilling all rules, the new commandment for keeping all the old commandments, Christ’s one secret of the Christian life.” (The Greatest Thing in the World: pp 15-17)

See what I mean? By the way, you can read the entire text here.

In John 13, Jesus goes a little further. Speaking to His disciples during the last supper, He says,

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John13:34-35)

As Christians, we love the Lord, and we love each other.

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, (1 John 5:2-3)

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love (2 John 1:6)

Yeah, I know. It sounds great, but the practice isn’t always easy. No, it isn’t. We live in a fallen world full of broken people. We are pulled by our own weaknesses. No one ever said it was easy. No one ever said that we would get it right every time this side of heaven.

So, how are we able to love God, our neighbor, and our brothers and sisters in Christ?

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

The last two thirds of the fourth chapter of 1 John is about how this love is possible.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. if anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:7-21)

It’s all about the relationship. When we truly understand how very much God loves us, the extending of that love to others begins to come naturally. God gave us His spirit to help us. It isn’t however, like flipping switch. It’s a growing process. One that will take the rest of our lives.

In his introduction to Mr. Drummond’s little book, evangelist D.L. Moody writes, “Would that we could all move into that Love chapter and live there.”

Amen!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Love the Lord

Songs for Sunday

Good morning!

Continuing the theme of yesterday’s post, here is a song written and performed by Lincoln Brewster called Love the Lord.

Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength (2x)

With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength
Love the Lord your God
With all your heart
With all your soul
With all your mind
And with all your strength

I will serve the Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength (2x)

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength
I will serve the Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength

I will love You (I will love You)
I will praise You (I will praise You)
I will serve You, Lord (I will serve You)
I will trust You, Lord (I will trust You)

And with all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
With all my strength

I will love You Lord
With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
And with all my strength (3x)
The song was first released on the album All to You…Live in 2005.

Yep, you’re going to be singing it all day now, aren’t you?

See you in church.

Connie

Love The Lord Your God

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Photo by Mike Thorn

When someone mentions the commands of God, or the law of God, what comes to your mind? The book of Leviticus? The Ten Commandments? Hell fire and brimstone?
As we’ve discussed before, the Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20. In the midst of the do’s and don’ts, there is something interesting. Look at verses 4-6, paying particular attention to verse six

4.“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5.You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6.but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Do you see it?

but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Ex 20:6)

We know that God expects obedience to His commands, but did you realize He wants us to love Him?

Moses didn’t miss it. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell to the Israelites. He recounts their journey together from the time they left Egypt, repeats much of the law, and admonishes them to be faithful and obedient to God. Nine different times, he mentions loving God.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deut 6:5)

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (Deut 10:12)

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. (Deut 11:1)

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— (Deut 11:13)

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— (Deut 11:22)

you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut 13:3)

because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities. (Deut 19:9)

The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. (Deut 30:6)

For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (Deut 30:16)

and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deut 30:20)

When Moses died, Joshua took his place. He thought loving God was important too.

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)

So be very careful to love the Lord your God. (23:11)

There are 57 other verses that mention loving God. That isn’t much when you consider there word love is found over 600 times in the Bible. Many times it refers to God’s love for us, not our love for Him. So how does one go about loving God? Well, read the verses above again. You’ll notice that love and obedience are often mentioned together. Ten of those 57 verses were written by David in the Psalms, and he specifically says that he loves the actual commands of God. Most of the time however, loving God is mentioned before obedience to Him. Does obedience flow naturally from a love relationship? What happens when there is no love in obedience?

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (Is 29:13)

Sadly, scriptures are full of examples of people who obeyed the law, but did not appear to love God. More sadly, the church is full of examples too. Why is that? Could it be that people are taught human rules about religion instead of being lead to a love relationship with God? God demands our obedience, but He would rather it come from a heart full of love than a heart full of fear and resentment. That isn’t the kind of relationship He wants with us. Did you only obey your parents because you feared punishment?

More about that next week.

Connie

Songs for Sunday: He’s Alive!

Happy Resurrection Day!

Choosing just one song for this day was hard! There are so many great songs, but I had to go back to the one that has been my favorite since the first time I heard it. I was probably fourteen years old, when I heard Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive” on Christian radio. It’s the resurrection story told from Peter’s perspective. It was powerful stuff then, and it still is 40 years later.

He’s Alive

The gates and doors were barred and all the windows fastened down,
I spent the night in sleeplessness and rose at every sound,
Half in hopeless sorrow half in fear the day,
Would find the soldiers breaking through to drag us all away.

Then just before the sunrise I heard something at the wall,
The gate began to rattle and a voice began to call,
I hurried to the window and looked down to the street,
Expecting swords and torches and the sound of soldiers feet,

There was no one there but Mary so I went down to let her in,
John stood there beside me as she told us were she’d been,
She said they moved him in the night and none of us knows where,
The stones been rolled away and now his body isn’t there.

We both ran toward the garden then John ran on ahead,
We found the stone and the empty tomb just the way that Mary said,
But the winding sheet they wrapped him in was just an empty shell,
And how or where they’d taken him was more than I could tell.

Something strange had happened there but what I did not know,
John believed a miracle but I just turned to go,
Circumstance and speculation couldn’t lift me very high,
Cause I’d seen them crucify him and then I saw him die,

Back inside the house again all the guilt and anguish came,
Everything I’d promised him just added to my shame,
‘Cause when at last it came to choices I denied I knew his name,
Even If he was alive it wouldn’t be the same.

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume,
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room,
Jesus stood before me with his arms held open wide,
And I fell down on my knees and clung to him and cried,

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into his eyes,
Love was shining out from him like sunlight from the sky,
Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release,
And every fear I’d ever had just melted into peace.

He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heavens gates are open wide.

He’s alive!
The song was included on Don’s second album called, “Forgiven”, in 1977. Many other artists have recorded it, the most well known probably being Dolly Parton. I love Dolly’s music, but for me, no one does the song like the man who wrote it.

This YouTube video is only a couple years old, and I think Don sounds just as good as he did 40 years ago; maybe better.

See you in church!

Connie

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ death.

I’ve spent the last few days talking to the Lord, and trying to determine what He wanted me to say about it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

That’s it.

God intended for us to have a personal relationship with Him. Adam and Eve had it in the garden, before they disobeyed God’s word and put the whole Earth under a curse.

God longs to have that relationship with us again, but only the sacrifice of a sinless life could do that.  That’s a problem, because there isn’t one human being who can live a totally sinless life.

God, however had a plan. He would send His son to live that sinless life, so that he would be the perfect sacrifice.

That’s what He did.

He sent Jesus to live as a human being. The only difference was that He would live a perfect life, and then, when it was the right time, He would offer up His own life in our place.

And that is what Jesus did.

When the work was complete,

…Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

What was finished? Our redemption.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Hold on though, that’s not the end of the story…it’s just the beginning.

Like this song performed by David Phelps

Connie

Songs for Sunday: All Glory Laud and Honor

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which culminates next Sunday on Easter, or as I prefer to call it, Resurrection Day! I can think of all kinds of music for the death, burial, and glorious resurrection of my Lord, but songs commemorating the triumphal entry into Jerusalem escape me, except for this one.  The funny thing is that I don’t think I’ve ever sung it, except for a few lines that were included in an Easter cantata. It is in several hymnals, including the one we use at our church. I heard someone else sing it once, a long time ago.

The words  were written by Theodulph of Orleans about the year 820. Theodulph, according to Cyberhymnal.com, was appointed as Bishop of Orleans, France by Charlemagne, but when the king died, his successor was suspicious of the bishop and had him imprisoned.  It was during his imprisonment, that he wrote the words to “All Glory Laud and Honor”.  He never regained his freedom, and died in 821. He was about sixty years old.

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.
Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Blessèd One.

The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.
The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.

To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.
Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.

The music was written in 1615, by German composer, Melchior Teschner, who called the piece “St Theodulph”. John M. Neal translated the Latin words into English in 1851.

Here is a YouTube video from WorshipOnYT

For me, the funny thing is that, when I heard it sung way back when, St Theodulph was not the melody. I don’t know what it was, and I have never heard it that way again. I was in high school, and our preacher’s wife sang it. It must have been during some kind of rehearsal for Palm Sunday/Easter, because I remember being there a lot when she rehearsed. The melody was unique, and it stuck with me.  If anyone else has an idea of what it could have been, feel free to comment below.

See you in church!

Connie

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday always comes the Sunday before Easter. On that day, we remember Jesus’
“Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem. The event is recorded in all four gospels: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-40, and John 12:12-19.

Before we look at those, look at Zechariah chapter nine. You can read it online here.

This prophecy promises deliverance for God’s people. However, if you look closely, you’ll see something odd.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zech 9:9)

Normally, victorious kings ride horses; majestic, magnificent horses. Here it says the king will be riding a…donkey? Yes, that is what it says.

Let’s look at Matthew’s account of what happened that day.

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matt: 21:1-11)

Mark doesn’t really add anything to the narrative, but Luke says some of the Pharisees were offended at what the crowd was shouting.

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40)

John adds,

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:16-19)

When Jesus came into Jerusalem on the back of the donkey, He was proclaiming Himself as Messiah. It was just a few days after He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and the multitudes came out to welcome to Him. The phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” is from Psalm 118, which contains another piece of messianic prophecy. Calling Him “Son of David” referred to prophecy from Isaiah and 2nd Samuel.

By shouting those things, the people were also proclaiming Jesus as messiah. The people knew the prophecies. They really didn’t understand what it was all about though. They were looking for an earthly king. During Jesus time on earth, Israel was under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Jewish people desperately wanted deliverance from the Romans, and they expected their messiah to deliver them. He didn’t though, and the crowds that welcomed Him would soon be calling for His crucifixion. If they had really understood the prophecies, they would have known that was part of the plan.

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“Entry of Christ into Jerusalem” Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) oil on canvas, public domain, downloaded from Indianapolis Museum of Art

What are your expectations of Jesus?

Connie