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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Today's Hymn

All hail to God’s anointed,
great David’s greater Son!
All hail, in time appointed,
your reign on earth begun!
You come to break oppression,
to set the captive free,
to take away transgression
and rule in equity.

You come with rescue speedy
to those who suffer wrong,
to help the poor and needy
and bid the weak be strong;
to give them songs for sighing,
their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying,
are precious in your sight.

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

Our longings for freedom, equity, abundance, light that shows the way, and a sense of preciousness are not new longings. It seems they are very old and persistent longings, for which I am grateful! These longings have appeared in prayers, poetry, and songs for centuries, even millennia. The opposites have also been present: oppression, transgression, captivity, poverty, and a sense of being lost in the dark, unable to find our way.

These are human experiences that we all struggle with. God calls us to something better, but we are not at the finish line; we are in the middle of the journey.

Psalm 72 is King David’s prayer to God about David’s son, King Solomon. This hymn takes that psalm and elevates it to be a song about Christ the King, God incarnate in our world. Christ is not a king of only a country or the world, but the ruler of the entire cosmos. This is “great David’s greater Son,” the savior born to us from David’s lineage.

It takes a lot of energy and spiritual focus to continually remember who we follow as we move through our world of problems and challenges. I know I need to keep reminding myself, “God you are here,” and “Christ you are with us; lead the way.”

The reign of Christ is begun, as this hymn reminds us. What’s our role, our calling, to make that reign manifest? How can we follow great David’s greater Son in helping the poor and needy, giving songs for sighing, treating souls as precious, and “ruling” in equity in whatever small realms where we have power and influence?

Let our prayer today be based on Luke 1:68-70:

Bless you, Holy God of all creation, because you have come to help and deliver your people. You have raised up a mighty savior for us in your servant David’s house, just as you promised through the mouths of your holy prophets long ago. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you, the anointed Christ, the true king and ruler of the world. Help me to follow where you lead. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Minister for Congregational Life

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