RSS

Tag Archives: Bible

Abide With Me

I’m sure that many would think that this is a semi-odd choice for all-time favorite hymn.

My dad was a Congregational (now United Church of Christ) minister so I was pretty regular in church attendance in my younger years.

Some Sunday evenings, he would preach on a circuit and I’d go with him to some of these tiny churches.  The people there, mostly older folks, liked the old hymns best – Fanny Crosby and so on.

So, some of my “favorite hymns” are going to be those that I sang when I was out with my Dad.  Fond memories from long ago.

In 1986 I was finally diagnosed with Cushing’s after struggling with doctors and trying to get them to test for about 5 years.  I was going to go into the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, MD for final testing and then-experimental pituitary surgery.

I was terrified and sure that I wouldn’t survive the surgery.

Somehow, I found a 3-tape set of Readers Digest Hymns and songs of Inspiration and ordered that. The set came just before I went to NIH and I had it with me.

At NIH I set up a daily “routine” of sorts and listening to these tapes was a very important part of my day and helped me get through the ordeal of more testing, surgery, post-op and more.

When I had my kidney cancer surgery, the tapes were long broken, but I had replaced all the songs – this time on my iPod.

Abide With Me was on this tape set and it remains a favorite to this day.  Whenever we have an opportunity in church to pick a favorite, my hand always shoots up and I request page 700.  When someone in one of my handbell groups moves away, we always sign a hymnbook and give it to them.  I sign page 700.

I think that many people would probably think that this hymn is depressing.  Maybe it is but to me it signifies times in my life when I thought I might die and I was so comforted by the sentiments here.

This hymn is often associated with funeral services and has given hope and comfort to so many over the years – me included.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

~John 15:7

Abide With Me

Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1847.

Music: Eventide, William H. Monk, 1861. Mrs. Monk described the setting:

This tune was written at a time of great sorrow—when together we watched, as we did daily, the glories of the setting sun. As the last golden ray faded, he took some paper and penciled that tune which has gone all over the earth.

Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn’t make it, though—he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. Here is an excerpt from his farewell sermon:

O brethren, I stand here among you today, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to impress it upon you, and induce you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely acquaintance with the death of Christ.

For over a century, the bells of his church at All Saints in Lower Brixham, Devonshire, have rung out “Abide with Me” daily. The hymn was sung at the wedding of King George VI, at the wedding of his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, and at the funeral of Nobel peace prize winner Mother Teresa of Calcutta in1997.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

~ From a post on another of my blogs, O’Connor Music Studio

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Wonderful Words of Life

I’m acquiring the title of an old hymn for this next post.

After I was finished with the long diagnostic process [of Cushing’s Disease], surgery October 2, 1987 and several post-op visits to NIH, I was asked to give the scripture reading at my church. The man who did the sermon that week was the survivor of a horrific accident where he and his family were hit by a van while waiting at an airport.

i thought I had written down the verse carefully. I practiced and practiced, I don’t like speaking in front of a crowd but I said I would. When I got to church, the verse was different. Maybe I wrote it down wrong, maybe someone changed it. Whatever.

This verse has come to have so much meaning in my life. When I saw at a book called A Musician’s Book of Psalms each day had a different psalm. On my birthday, there was “my” psalm so I had to buy this book!

Psalm 116 (New International Version)

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, save me!”

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

10 I believed; therefore I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

11 And in my dismay I said,
“All men are liars.”

12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant;
you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.

I carry a print out of this everywhere I go because I find it very soothing. “when I was in great need, he saved me.” This print out is in a plastic page saver. On the other side there is an article I found after my kidney cancer. I first read this in Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul and is posted several places online.

The Best Day Of My Life by Gregory M Lousignont

Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! And because I did I’m going to celebrate!

Today, I’m going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I have had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships because they have served to make me stronger.

I will go through this day with my head held high, and a happy heart. I will marvel at God’s seemingly simple gifts: the morning dew, the sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, the birds. Today, none of these miraculous creations will escape my notice.

Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. I’ll make someone smile. I’ll go out of my way to perform an unexpected act of kindness for someone I don’t even know.

Today, I’ll give a sincere compliment to someone who seems down. I’ll tell a child how special he is, and I’ll tell someone I love just how deeply I care for her and how much she means to me.

Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don’t have and start being grateful for all the wonderful things God has already given me.

I’ll remember that to worry is just a waste of time because my faith in God and his Divine Plan ensures everything will be just fine.

And tonight, before I go to bed, I’ll go outside and raise my eyes to the heavens. I will stand in awe at the beauty of the stars and the moon, and I will praise God for these magnificent treasures.

As the day ends and I lay my head down on my pillow, I will thank the Almighty for the best day of my life. And I will sleep the sleep of a contented child, excited with expectation because know tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life, ever!

When I’m feeling down, depressed or low, reading my 2 special pages can help me more than anything else.

~This is adapted from a post on another of my blogs at Cushings & Cancer

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Earth Day, 2021

Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22; churches typically observe Earth Day Sunday during the month of April. It is an opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God’s creation and the human responsibility to steward it through worship, education and action.

The Rev. Pat Watkins is an expert in educating others about how theology relates to caring for creation as an important Christian mission. Watkins was a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries assigned to the care of God’s creation. 

“Many of us are stuck at a grade school level of theological competence and Bible understanding,” Watkins explained. “If we looked deeper into the Bible, we’d be surprised. Relationship with God and relationship with the Earth are very prevalent in the Bible, but we focus primarily on our relationship with God and not the Earth.”

“It’s more than recycling and Styrofoam” he continued. “It’s about relationships with God, each other, and God’s creation. It’s about how we live with each other. It is a covenant.”

Watkins said, “The United Methodist Church is an amazing and powerful group of Christians because of our Scriptures. We just don’t use that power enough. We need to be the voice of creation care.”

Watkins shared some Biblical references that call us to care for God’s creation.

Genesis 2:7 – The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils.”

Adam was created out of dust of the Earth. How could there be any more of a relationship with the Earth than to be created out of it? It’s as if God scooped up a couple handfuls of earth and formed humanity. When God formed Adam he was not a living being until God breathed life into his nostrils and we became living human beings. The fact that we exist as living, breathing human beings suggests that we have a relationship with the Earth because we were created out of it and we have a relationship with God because we breathe the very breath of the one who created all that is.

Genesis 3:23 – “The Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to farm the fertile land from which he was taken.”

Even the fact that God put Adam and Eve in a garden is an important point. Due to their disobedience, they were kicked out of the garden and the land was cursed making it more difficult for them to coax the earth to provide for them.

Genesis 4:12 – “When you farm the fertile land, it will no longer grow anything for you, and you will become a roving nomad on the earth.”

The story of Cain and Able is also a story of disobedience. When Cain, a farmer, killed his brother, God punished him by removing him from the soil. He became a wanderer across the earth with no connection to any land. When he lost his relationship with the land, he could no longer see the face of God. Relationship with the land and relationship with God were, for Cain, inseparable.

Disobedience of God and violence towards one another results in negative consequences for the earth.

Genesis 9:13 – “I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Few people know that Noah’s father, Lamech, thought that his son might one day be the “righteous” one to remove the curse on the land (Genesis 5:28-29). When Noah’s Ark came to rest and the animals were released, a rainbow appeared. It was a sign not only of God’s covenant with Noah, but also with the animals and the earth itself. Noah’s story is a story of reconciliation of humanity and the earth. God saw what he had done and promised he would never again curse the land.

John 1:3 – “Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being.”

At the beginning of John’s Gospel there is an understanding by the writer that Jesus was present at Creation and that everything that ever came into being came into being through Christ.

John 3:16 – “God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.”

Many think that the whole Christ event was just about personal salvation, but actually, it was about God’s love for everything God has made. The word world is better translated as cosmos.

The Apostle Paul

Romans 8:19 – “The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.”

Colossians 1:20 – “He reconciled all things to himself through him — whether things on earth or in the heavens. He brought peace through the blood of his cross.”

Paul has the understanding that Jesus was the redeemer not just of humanity, but of everything God created.

Learn more about The United Methodist Church and its teachings about the natural world, and creation care.

This piece was written by Susan Passi-Klaus, a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Media contact: Joe Iovino.

 
 

Tags: ,

Pentecost is Sunday, June 9, 2019

pentecost320-crop

Pentecost is a Christian holy day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Easter. Some Christian denominations consider it the birthday of the Christian church and celebrate it as such.

Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish holiday held 50 days after Passover. One of three major feasts during the Jewish year, it celebrated Thanksgiving for harvested crops. However, Pentecost for Christians means something far different.

Before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come after him:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16–18

And 40 days after Jesus was resurrected (10 days after he ascended into heaven), that promise was fulfilled when Peter and the early Church were in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disciple Fast Track

disciple-fast-track

 

For nearly thirty years, the original Disciple Bible Study has helped millions of people read through the Bible and grow their faith through a 34-week class. 

The new Disciple Fast Track study leads groups through the Bible in 24 weeks-12 on the Old Testament and 12 on the New Testament. Study manuals and videos give participants tools to absorb and retain what they learn about the Bible. 

Our church is now forming a Disciple Fast Track group to go through the study together. Pastor Dan will be leading. We will meet Wednesday evenings, 7:00pm.

 

Main Features of Disciple Fast Track:

· Classes meet for a total of 24 weeks

– 12 Weeks Old Testament (August 31 – November 16)

– 12 Weeks New Testament (January 4 – March 22 +/- for inclement weather)

· Each group session lasts 75 minutes

·Daily scripture & workbook readings.

· 24 weekly illustrated whiteboard review videos

 

Please sign up on the Connection Card in the bulletin this Sunday for more information or click here.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: