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Thursday, January 1, 2015
New Year's Day

You shall come down like showers
upon the fruitful earth;
love, joy, and hope, like flowers,
spring in your path to birth.
Before you on the mountains
shall peace, the herald, go,
and righteousness in fountains
from hill to valley flow.

All rulers bow before you,
and gold and incense bring.
All nations shall adore you;
your praise all people sing.
To you shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend.
Your rule is still increasing;
your rule is without end.

James Montgomery’s “All Hail to God’s Anointed”
(tune: Rockport)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

This hymn is based on Psalm 72 about God’s sovereignty over all the earth, a psalm written long before Jesus Christ was born. Yet this psalm has often been given a Christological interpretation. The first phrase of this hymn verse references Psalm 72:6: “May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” A less poetic way of saying the same thing could be, “Christ shall come down in our midst and forever nurture and sustain life.” How do we recognize Christ’s presence and movement in our lives and in our world? It is where newness springs up, growth blooms, vitality thrives, peace breaks out, righteousness flows, love and joy and hope permeate how we live and how we relate to one another, even among nations.

On a high school youth mission trip I once led, one of the students confessed at the beginning of the trip that she didn’t know if she believed in God. She was nonetheless fully engaged with and embraced by the group. During the week, the youth grew close as they cooked and ate meals, did service for others, prayed together, and played hard. In our closing sharing, the same student said, “I think I’m beginning to understand that what you guys mean by ‘God is when love happens.’” Yes, precisely. “Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in your path to birth.” In this Christmas season, at the beginning of a new year, let us be attentive to where Christ’s rule is increasing.

Loving God, grant that I may be extremely moved by noticing that your natural abundance, already in the cosmos, is multiplying all around me. Lead all your people to claim our expansive home in you, so that wherever we turn, we find your Name inscribed in light. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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