God himself who formed the stars
loves me, truly loves me!
Sent his Son, his dear Son
bearing scorn to save me!
Melts my heart and fires my soul:
loving him, my Lord, my all!
God loved me before the stars
all were fashioned by him.
He will love me beyond time
– sight will swell my praising:
There I’ll fully taste and see
all his love and majesty.
[Tune: 76 76 77 but can be sung to England’s Lane (tune of ‘For the beauty of the earth’ which is 77 77 77 ) or Liebster Jesu by Johann Rudolph Ahle (tune of Blessed Jesus, at Thy word’’ which is 78 78 88, and needs linking crochets to minims – ie two long syllables, not four brief ones – at the beginning of lines 2 and 4!)]
Satan clouds their thinking – so becoming blind:
cannot see things clearly, sluggishness of mind.
Tricked them into thinking God himself is blind
and can’t see their malice, deaf to words unkind.
Smirking when they are not punished straight away,
hope God has no record to reveal one day.
He exists and sees us, everything’s observed,
but his Son he asked to bear what we deserved.
Tune: 65 65 eg Tunes of ‘At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow’
on Psalm 103
Angels, praise your Maker’s worth,
praise him all who here on earth
serve him; all of nature shows
beauty that his skill bestows.
And my soul should ever praise
who He is, my Lord’s good ways,
King who rules, delights to give
redemptive love by which we live.
His compassion and his grace
understands, and we can trace
kindness and provision shown –
adoptions’s covenant we own.
Tune: 77 77
I liked to drink and mess about,
with no-one to restrain,
I did it my way, soon found out
it led to sadness, pain.
I’m fickle with my friends, don’t want
commitment – free and loose.
– Why is it that decisions haunt
and feel like self-abuse?
I left my home, and took my share,
then squandered it away.
Bankrupt, with no-one left to care
– my ‘pals’ had had their play.
Dare I return, my way now own
was stupid? ask for food?
But look! he’s running, welcomes home
and gives again what’s good!
(cf The parable of the Prodigal Son, recorded in Luke 15)
‘ He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven …’ Acts 14:17
A gift of God sustaining life,
refreshment after thirst and drought
to fill the rivers, reservoirs,
and moisten earth so plants can sprout.
But rain falls inconveniently
and interrupts warm sunny days:
we cannot organise these things,
need God to order well our ways.
We should do well to take account
that once he sent a world-wide flood
because of wickedness so great,
and though he said he never would
again so flood the earth, there will
be surely judgement day to come,
and that is why the rainbow speaks
of mercy coming through God’s Son.
For like a refuge in the rain,
we shelter from what we are due
for all offence to judgment right,
we gain instead that comfort true.
And then we drink, refreshed, awake,
the Holy Spirit quenches thirst,
he quickens, nurtures and he fills
us, in his love we are immersed.
Tune: DLM eg ‘Ye banks and braes’
Do you reject this news that’s really good
because of me?
D’you feel I’m hypocritical, and should
be living, do I seem a shallow lie?
Don’t judge me hastily, I truly try.
Maybe you’ve others met who tell this news
who’ve let you down,
and so you shut your ears, their words refuse
– don’t shun a crown,
if messengers are poor, still ponder well
the things they shared, important news we tell.
Or is it rather that your anger strong
is with this God?
for, if he’s true, why is there here such wrong
not perfect good?
he hasn’t taken out all evil yet,
so answers seek from him – ‘don’t ask, won’t get.’
Tune: 10 4 10 4 10 10 eg Sandon by Charles Purday (tune of ‘Unto the hills around do I lift up’)
How can we worship One unseen?
No man-made idol-image
can ever nourish true esteem –
distortion is an outrage:
it does not show his skill,
his wisdom, mighty will,
unable to define
his attributes divine –
misleads us and insults him.
His image once on earth was known,
whose words made men astonished,
his power, and rule and kindness shown –
in death his love was lavished.
He’s jealous of his right
to make us his delight,
and those who hate his name
will bring their children shame,
but some return to love him.
John, persecuted, exiled on
the isle of Patmos, saw him –
the risen Jesus, glorious Son
the holy Saviour reigning
to teach his people, keep,
give comfort when they weep:
we worship him we know,
though have no aid to show –
the scriptures well describe him.
Tune: 87 87 66 66 7 eg Ein Feste Burg by Martin Luther (tune of ‘A Safe stronghold our God is still’
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them …” Exodus 20:4,5”
Christ Jesus – human and divine;
his Father, God above.
When Jesus Christ returned, he sent
his Spirit, gift of love.
So, on that day called Pentecost
the nervous little throng
of those who followed Christ, received
th’empowering Spirit strong.
For God is supernatural –
one God who is triune
– three persons, one amazing God:
we’ll bow before him soon!
Whoever could expect that God
to our created mind
be fully understandable?
– our thoughts are too confined
“In a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses …” Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 1:5,8; 2:33)
(Jonah chapter 1)
The sailors, frightened in the storm,
found idol-gods dead, deaf to cries.
The real, true God they had not known,
and guilty Jonah sleeping lies.
What God d’you worship? – Jonah speak!
– his God, he told them was not weak.
His God, he said, had made the sea,
the land, the sky, and taught his Word,
but disobedient Jonah, he
his God’s chastisement had incurred.
They from the storm would be set free
by throwing Jonah in the sea.
A God who speaks? A powerful God?
who teaches, judges, rules the waves?
Must they throw Jonah overboard?
– surprising will of One who saves.
They had to trust he would not blame,
and great their reverence for his name.
Their boat to land they’d tried to bring,
but could not, for the storm increased.
So now they called, and sought this King
to be from any guilt released.
At once the raging sea was calm,
and God saved Jonah too from harm.
Tune: 88 88 88 eg Melita by J B Dykes (tune of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’)
or Sagina by Thomas Campbell (tune of ‘And can it be that I should gain’)
Not just a jolly image
who’s bringing gifts galore
(guffaws that shake his rib-cage
ring out around the store),
but one who is a Father
all year to give what‘s good
– not toys but help to better
live now the way we should:
A Father for all seasons,
knows all we’ve ever done,
does not excuse our treasons,
but beckons us to come
confess, receive forgiveness
for Jesus forged the Way,
his Father’s grace be given us
for deeds and words each day.
Tune: 76 76 D eg Nettleton (American Folk Tune)