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Sunday, November 13, 2016
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my dear Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of God’s grace!
The name of Jesus charms our fears,
and bids our sorrows cease,
sings music in the sinner’s ears,
brings life, and health, and peace.
Christ speaks, and listening to his voice
new life the dead receive;
the mournful waken to rejoice;
the poor in heart believe.
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.
To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the church in earth and heaven.
Charles Wesley’s “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
Sometimes, we are wonderful spectators for God. We stand and cheer like the fans we are, “Yay, God, you’re great! Woo-hoo, keep on doing what you do!”
Praise the Lord. It’s not a bad thing to do.
But what are we praising God for, exactly? In this excerpt there are three groups of people—the poor in heart, the mournful, and the dead—and God helps them all through Christ. And this is a great and wonderful thing, that God can and does help those people.
“Those people.” It creeps in so easily, sometimes, the way we use language to separate us from each other. “Those people” who are poor in heart. “Those people” who are mournful. “Those people” who are dead. Those people, over there, who need God’s help, and woo-hoo, yay God, you keep on helping them.
What gets lost sometimes is that this distinction is artificial and nonexistent in God’s sight. This is not about other people in other places: We are the poor in heart, we are the mournful, we are the dead. We are the ones who need the word of God to transform our state, always, every day.
It’s important to remember that when we reach out to one in need, we are not reaching down to them but rather reaching across to them, that there is no difference between us in the eyes of God. We are companions in a difficult journey through a hard land, and we all need each other. God has made us one people, and when we act like it, we honor what God has done for all of us.
Lord, thank you for your constant help in time of need. Remind us that we are one people, equally precious in your sight, and help us to care for one another so that your love may be seen abroad in the world. Amen.
Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts
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