Three Festivals of Celebration

One day in every seven days,
right from the world’s creation,
a pause from work for rest and praise
– a weekly celebration.*

Then Israel for one week each year
the exodus remembered –
out from enslavement, murder, fear –
the rescue by their Shepherd.**

Each Sunday let your joy resound
remembering redemption
– our Shepherd rescued, and we’ve found
such cause for celebration.***

[*Sabbath **Passover ***Resurrection Day]

Tune: 87 87 (Iambic) eg St Columba, tune of ‘The King of love my Shepherd is’


Hung on the gallows he built for another

H, by King X to honour was raised,
H, by King X was empowered and praised;
but H was so angry that M wouldn’t bow,
‘Vengeance on all of the Jews’ – his vow.

H had a sizable gallows made,
confidant that the King X he’d persuade
to let him hang M (as his wife was suggesting);
– that night, X was wakeful – instead of him resting,

he asked that the book of his reign they would bring –
they read how a plot on the life of the King
had been heard and reported by M, but that naught
had been done to show praise for assassins caught.

‘What shall be done for the one whom I ought
to honour’, the King asked, and H proudly thought
‘He must mean for me!’ and suggested he dress
that one in a robe, ride a royal king’s horse,

and lead him throughout all the city proclaiming
‘This man is honoured’ – H heard the king naming
M as the man who by H must be led
(not hung on his gallows, but favoured instead!).

When Esther made known the plot H had devised
to destroy all her people, X’s anger was roused,
H then fell upon her to plead for his life,
but X, when he thought H assaulting his wife,

grew even more angry – the gallows H made
was used for himself, and a lesson conveyed
that malice and pride, though they hate, will instead
one day bring their schemes down upon their own head!

based on the story of the book of Esther in the Bible (especially 2:19-8:17), when some of the Jews had been allowed to return to their land, but some were still in Persia.
X=Xerxes, M=Mordecai, H=Haman

From creation to Christ (for children)

In the beginning, in 6 days of 7,
earth was created, and all of the heaven;
animals, plants by their kinds, and then man:
great was God’s power, and perfect his plan.

Adam and Eve were the man and his wife,
– made in God’s image, – so happy their life:
ruling on earth, with God’s garden to tend,
free of all troubles before they had sinned.

All living things are still formed by his care;
trees grow from seed by his power everywhere.
Soon, a new wonderful place he will show, –
those who go there, no more sadness will know.
Tune:10 10.10 10 ‘Slane’ (tune of ‘Be Thou my vision’)

Adam sinned
When Adam disobeyed his God,
a sinner he became;
and all who have been born from him
are sinners just the same.
Dead and guilty,
unhappy slaves of sin,
quite unable eternal life to win.

When Jesus lived obediently,
and died upon the cross;
a way was made where God himself
would rescue from this loss.
In Christ Jesus
we can be righteous sons:
he’s the Saviour, – he saves his helpless ones.

(Tune of ‘When Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go.’)

Noah and the flood
When sins of men grew very great,
and Noah walked with God,
men’s wicked, disobedient state
brought judgement from the Lord.
And we can be saved from judgement
by the gospel of God’s salvation:
repent and believe in Jesus,
and walk by faith with God.

The LORD told Noah he must build
a boat-like ark of wood,
and God’s commands he all fulfilled, –
God saved him from the flood.

There will not be another flood
like that of Noah’s day,
but we must stand before our God,
so now his Word obey.
(Tune: CM and refrain ‘I know whom I have believed.’ by J McGranahan)

His great and gracious promises
God made to Abram known:
from him a nation would be formed,
their Lord to know and own.

Believing God while yet no son,
such faith God loves to see;
and we must trust his promises,
whatever they may be.

And righteousness God gave to him,
for he believed God’s Word;
and we’ll receive if we believe
on Christ, whose claims we’ve heard.

God kept his Word – the son he gave,
and soon the nation grew.
God blessed them in so many ways:
his laws and love they knew.

God promised Abram that through him
all nations would be blessed,
and Jesus, Saviour, came to them,
but all in him can trust.
(Tune: CM Jackson by T Jackson)

Abraham to Joseph
God to Abraham gave Isaac;
Isaac, Jacob, in his turn:
sons of blessing, but God’s wisdom
Jacob, first, by grace must learn.

When he’d changed, God called him Israel –
soon to be the nation’s name;
his twelve sons had many children:
Israel’s nation’s tribes became.

One of Jacob’s sons was favoured,
and his brothers chose to hate:
they sent Joseph down to Egypt,
though their father’s grief was great.

But in all God had good purpose, –
Joseph thrived in Egypt’s land;
soon the brothers found in famine,
they were fed by Joseph’s hand!

Joseph had been made a leader;
God had shown him to prepare
for the famine; – so all Israel
came to settle with him there!
(Tune: 87 87 ‘Shipston’)

When Joseph was in Egypt’s land,
unseen by Jacob’s eye,
did he to idol worship turn, –
the Lord did he deny?
Slave and stranger:
see Joseph bearing all,
tempted often, – to sin he did not fall!

Whatever work he had to do,
he tried to do it well.
This soon brought honour to his Lord,
and gain to him aswell!

His Lord was with him through it all –
he meant it all for good.
The wicked brothers should repent,
and pray to God for food.
(Tune of ‘When Isreal was in Egypt’s land, Let my people go’)

Moses and the Exodus
Living well in Egypt’s land;
growing soon a mighty band;
Egypt’s king began to fear,
chose to make their life severe.
Pray, pray, pray, pray always for God cares.
Pray, pray, pray, pray always for God cares.
Sing his praises, sing his praises, sing his praises,
for he hears.

God, the Lord, his people chose;
now will save from Pharoah’s blows.
He sends Moses to request
that his people be released.

Many plagues God sent to show
Pharoah had to let them go,
from their bondage in that land:
saved by God’s almighty hand.

But his people grieved him much,
for their murmuring was such.
Many did not enter in
Canaan’s land because of sin.
(tune: 77.77 + refrain ‘Infant Praise’)

Tabernacle and Temple
As through the great desert the Israelites went,
the LORD gave instructions to make him a tent, –
to meet with his people, though mighty and pure,
and lead them and teach of his promises sure.        (or, covenant)

When settled in Canaan, a temple of stone
was built, where the glory of God would be known.
Now Jesus has saved all his people by grace,
and Christians can come to the holiest place.

So they are his temple, – he with them will dwell,
and they have the gospel of mercy to tell.
In godliness, goodness, and love they must grow,
to be like their Lord, and his glory to show.
(Tune: 11 11. 11 11 eg St Denio – tune of ‘Immortal, invisible’)

The Ten Commandments
When we read God’s great commandments,
there his will for us is seen;
we have failed, we all are sinners:
only Christ can make us clean!

Worship God; don’t make an image;
never wrongly use his name;
don’t forget, keep Sunday holy;
honour parents, – bring no shame.

Do not kill; keep marriage honoured;
do not steal; and do not lie;
do not covet, do not envy; –
these are laws of God most high.

And the sum of all is loving:
loving God with all my heart;
loving other people also:
Christ gives grace such life to start.
Tune: 87.87 Sicilian Mariners

The Father asked his Son that he
his people’s Saviour soon would be:
from glory down to earth to go
that they eternal life might know.

He taught all Israel how to bring
the sacrifices for their sin;
the lamb was killed, – its blood was shed, –
for outward cleansing it had bled.

So Jesus came God’s Lamb to be:
to die for sin at Calvary;
his blood was shed, as his alone
could for his people’s sins atone!
(Tune: LM ‘Samson’ by G F Handel)

From Joshua to the Exile
It was Joshua led into Canaan’s good land, –
promised land which they now must possess,
and remember obedience to every command,
for their LORD would be faithful to bless.
But they later refused to his laws to give heed,
into ways of the heathen they strayed. –
When their problems were great, and in trouble and need,
they returned, and for mercy they prayed.

Many judges were given to help them and lead,
but the people to Samuel came,
and requested he make them a king, but we read
their rebelliousness brought them much shame.
God gave Saul to be king, – soon Saul angered the LORD, –
God’s commands would not always obey.
Then young David was chosen who heeded God’s Word:
in repentance and trust, hear him pray.

After David, son Solomon ruled them instead.
When he died, Israel split into two.
Then there reigned many kings who forgot what God said,
and his will would not bother to do.
God sent prophets to warn them that judgement would come,
and to teach of salvation’s new Way:
but first Israel, then Judah, were banished from home,
to await Judah’s Saviour’s great day.
Tune: 12 9.12 9 ‘Athens (Salamis)’