Last Sunday we began a September series in our 9:30 and 11:00 services entitled The Faith we Sing. The Bible is the Church’s primary book, to be sure, but hymnals are important books for the Church, as well. Our United Methodist Hymnal is no exception. It contains many of the major themes of our faith and understandings of God—captured in poetry. There are hymns written hundreds of years ago and hymns written thirty years ago.
There are hymns from several ethnic traditions in varieties of style. In addition to hymns, there are orders of worship, prayers, canticles, affirmations of faith, readings, Psalms arranged in responsive readings with sung responses, and indexes to help you find what you are looking for. In past generations, the people called Methodist not only possessed their own Bibles, but they also possessed their own hymnals and used them as a way to solidify their faith and write it on their hearts. It only takes a few moments of leafing through the hymnal to see that it is laid out in the pattern of a creed.
It begins with the Trinity: God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit—the divine presence in our lives. Then, it moves to the Church—the Body of Christ, the Community of Faith. The hymnal then ends with looking to the coming fullness of the Realm of God and eternal life.
Along the way, we remember that the grace of God moves in our lives and in our world in three distinct ways:
1)Prevenient Grace—the working of God in our lives—even before we are aware of God—to bring us to faith.
2)Justifying Grace—the working of God in Jesus Christ bring about forgiveness and reconciliation with God and new beginnings.
3)Sanctifying Grace—the power and presence of God in our lives to mold us and make us who Christ calls us to be and to live as he calls us to live.
This Sunday we will focus on God as Creator and all that means for us and for our world. We will look at it through the lens of the ancient biblical book of Job (Job 38:1-7; 34-41), as well as through the poetry of our hymns. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,