‘ 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)
Autumn flowers, sheaf of wheat,
garden veg and tins of meat –
all reminders of God’s power
– he designed the fruit and flower,
formed their structure, every cell,
and each active organelle.
Awesome is the human brain
How much more can God retain!
vast his knowledge, presence, sight
understanding, skill and might
and he knows what’s wrong, what’s right,
shines into confusion, light.
Intellect that could declare
what’s occurring everywhere,
tells us of his plans to bring
judgment on disease and sin,
offered grace, redemption bought –
listen, heed his message taught.
You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13,14
Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Psalm 95:8
Tune: 77 77 77
On Psalm 113
We praise the God transcendent
who dwells beyond, so high
above the stars, resplendent,
but notices a sigh.
In every place his greatness
with awe and praise proclaim;
tell always that his goodness,
delights to save from shame.
He cares for those lost, helpless,
who feel their desperate need,
hungry for grace, and fruitless,
those longing to be freed.
This could not be invented
– One infinitely great
who’s willing and committed
to be compassionate.
He must be disappointed
at folly, mess and sin,
and yet Christ was anointed
redemption full to bring.
We serve our saving Saviour,
we worship him who served,
we’ll soon be where for ever
contentment full’s reserved.
Tune: 76 76 D eg Morning Light (tune of ‘Stand up, Stand up for Jesus’)
The prophets and the law
were teaching long before
about true holiness,
salvation from sin’s mess
– much needed grace that God will bring:
accept and honour Christ the King.
How deep the love of God
within the Trinity:
the Father loves his Son
so deeply, and yet he
sent him to earth to teach and save:
listen! receive the gift he gave!
Tune: 66 66 88 eg Gopsal, tune of ‘Rejoice! the Lord is King’
An understanding Father
who’s tender, gentle, kind
maturing heart and mind.
He’s infinitely tender,
he’s infinitely strong,
he’s infinitely awesome,
and I’m his royal son.
Not weak and not uncaring
of foolish things I do;
he’s just and strong and righteous,
and helps me to pull through.
He is the Finest Master,
I want to serve him well.
He’ll teach and bless, support me,
and with me ever dwell.
Tune: 76 76 D tune of ‘O Sacred Head sore wounded’ or Ewing, tune of ‘Jerusalem the golden’