A merry-go-round of monotony,
a chorus of cackling cacophony
– soul’s bellies a-rumbling,
and hungering, grumbling
– life colourless: strife, gloom and acrimony.
The gift that arrived that first Christmas
with promises that it could give us
what really can satisfy
– see God above ratify
– imperishable gift that’s so precious.
Amusements can give us a “sugar-rush”
– our souls need whole food that will nourish us.
We need to receive Him,
His Word to escape this world’s death-curse.
‘Go my own way, with money to spend …
Everyone’s friendly – I’ve plenty to lend …
exciting wild living, no time to be sad,
no work, and no duties, who’s to say that I’m bad …?
‘The money has gone, no pals’ helping hand,
I’m hungry, and famine’s besetting the land,
prices as rising – can I work for some food?’
“Yes, you can go feed my pigs!” ‘Oh, how I would
eat what they’ve got, I’m so starving still,
longing for something my stomach to fill …
‘My father has servants – they’ve food to spare.
I’ve wasted his money, no longer an heir,
but maybe he’d give me a better job there,
I’ll tell him I’m sorry – will he still for me care …?
The father when seeing him, ran to him, kissed –
Oh, how this prodigal child he had missed!
Gladly he welcomed his humble son home.’
‘My wandering, squandering nightmare is gone.’
cf. Luke 15:7-31
Rejecting prayer, rejecting God,
self-confidence is high,
or confidence in others, who
can little help supply.
Then life becomes a barren place,
dry, withered, lonely, sore,
unfruitful, weary, needing grace
that can refreshment pour.
How blessed are they that have their trust
in God, on him rely:
they’re like a tree whose roots are fed
from water flowing by.
Refreshed in drought and times of heat,
they heed his Word, and pray,
he makes them fruitful, they give shade
to others on the way.
see Jeremiah 17: 5-10 and Psalm 1
( He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:2,3)
Boys in Thailand deep inside a cave –
needing rescuers who can save
coming in from far to find each boy
– welcomed gratefully, with joy.
Stuck in bog of sin, we can’t break free,
burst from chained captivity;
needing someone wise with rescue plan
who’ll fulfil it – Saviour-man.
When he comes you must respond, and grasp,
call, his help then firmly clasp,
and when lifted from lust’s powerful pull,
follow him, your Lord, joy-full.
The God who is and ever was
knew well before creation
that those he made would fall to sin
and sadness through temptation.
He knew the only way would be
to rescue through redemption. –
for One untaintable to take
their sin’s full condemnation.
So they could be washed and set free,
procured grace receiving
when told what had been done for them,
It was the Son of God himself
who took the task upon him,
and came to Bethlem, gave himself
upon the cross atoning.
A ‘Leap of Faith’ they called the ride –
an almost vertical water-slide:
no foolish leap or gambling drop,
partakers knew they’d safely stop,
they trusted those who had designed
and tested, built, the check-sheets signed
when they were absolutely sure
its safety really was secure –
with faith in that, the tourists leapt,
on to the scary slide they stepped.
And faith in One you cannot see
is not a ‘hope’ that maybe he
will be a real trustworthy prop
who won’t forget, neglect or flop.
Real faith trusts One who’s shown his worth
in records of his time on earth,
his skill observed in flower and sky
now love and comfort will supply
– their faith’s no folly, gambler’s bet –
well-founded faith in One they’ve met.
This world, when all was brought to be –
the beauty, wonder we still see
was not yet marred in any way,
with no frustration, till fall’s day.
He who had mutinied, and lost
his place among the heavenly host,
became God’s enemy, until
an end to all his plans of ill.
So when God made the universe,
this Satan schemed, earned judgement’s curse;
he tempted Eve to doubt, rebel,
and so to sin and hurt she fell.
Could not for ever live like this,
their world and they were now amiss,
though still supported, all would groan
until salvation wrought, made known.
Christ came to pay the debt, he will,
soon come again, and all fulfil,
and meanwhile hear now, heed his call
and friendship, like before the fall,
you can enjoy with God, and when
he comes, returns, a world that then
will have no damage, and no fears,
with happy work, no death, no tears.
Tune: LM or DLM ‘Ye banks and braes’
As Aslan died instead
of Edmund, who’d betrayed,
so only Jesus could redeem
each one who’d disobeyed.
Only the King himself,
the perfect one alone,
who had no wrong thing ever done,
could take my place, atone.
The temple showed how God
is separate from sin,
and all that is not pure and good:
we could not come to him.
The curtain barred the way,
to the most holy place,
but when Christ died, it broke in two –
he reconciled by grace.
His body broken meant
the barrier’s broken down,
so through his bearing punishment
we can approach God’s throne.
What awesome thing is this?
to now be welcomed in
to friendship with the Holy One,
the Sovereign God, our King!
a rotted rope,
to hold in stormy sea,
a cobweb frail
to no avail –
a hope as weak as me.
Oh, why deny
a God on high,
the God his Son disclosed?
a God who’ll teach,
and all can reach,
before whom all’s exposed.
His power clothed earth,
and conquered death –
only the meek reach out
who know their need
to trust and plead:
of hope secure they shout!
Tune: CM eg ‘Amazing Grace’
Imprisoned by mere men,
God brought them out of jail
to tell the way of life to all
in public, without fail.
They’re bidden back for trial,
and nearly sent to death,
but flogged and once more told to stop
telling the gospel’s worth.
Joy, sharing Jesus’ shame,
but can’t keep silent, must
continue teaching news so good,
that Jesus is the Christ.
Tune: SM (6686)
on Acts 5:17-42 ‘… an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts, “ he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” …’ verses19,20 [*Acts 4:20]