The Sower and the Seeds
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
This week’s music:
“Praise With Joy the World’s Creator” (VU #312)
“Praise with joy the world’s Creator,
God of justice, love, and peace,
Source and end of human knowledge,
God whose grace shall never cease.
Celebrate the Maker’s glory,
Power to rescue and release.
Praise to Christ who feeds the hungry,
Frees the captive, finds the lost,
Heals the sick, upsets religion,
Fearless both of fate and cost.
Celebrate Christ’s constant presence:
Friend and stranger, guest and host.
Praise the Spirit sent among us,
Liberating truth from pride,
Forging bonds where race or gender,
Age or nation dare divide.
Celebrate the Spirit’s treasure:
Foolishness none dare deride.
Praise the Maker, Christ, and Spirit,
One God in community,
Calling Christians to embody
Oneness and diversity.
This the world shall see reflected:
God is One and One in Three.”
This text in praise of the Trinity was written for an anniversary conference of the World Student Christian Federation held at Edinburgh in 1985 by the Iona Community. It brings fresh insights to the understanding of the Godhead. In verse one we offer praise to the Creator, “God of justice, love and peace…” Verse two celebrates “Christ’s constant presence” with us as fearless world-changer. In verse three, the hymn offers praise to the Spirit, moving among us, “liberating truth from pride…” The final verse brings all three together into the Trinity, calling us to “embody oneness and diversity.” The music LAUDA ANIMA (PRAISE MY SOUL) was composed by John Goss, organist at St. Paul’s Cathdral in London, in 1868. The tune is most well-known as the tune for the hymn, “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.”
Watch an organ solo of this hymn tune at: https://youtu.be/Q5VkuRqUA0Y
“In the Garden”
“I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear;
The Son of God discloses.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Tho’ the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”
“In the Garden” is a gospel song that was written by American songwriter C. Austin Miles in 1912. It was inspired by John Chapter 20. Miles claimed to have had a vision, where he witnessed the weeping Magdalene being comforted by the resurrected Savior. As soon as he awoke he wrote the lyrics as quickly as they could be put down on paper, and exactly as they appear in the song. Later that night he wrote the music. The intimacy of the lyrics have made it a much-loved song over the past century.
Sing along with Alan Jackson at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F1o8m-VGqQ
Hear an acapella version at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv68Xj2lJL8
“Lord, let my heart be good soil, open to the seed of your Word.
Lord, let my heart be good soil, where love can grow and peace is understood.
When my heart is hard, break the stone away.
When my heart is cold, warm it with the day.
When my heart is lost, lead me on your way.
Lord, let my heart be good soil.”
This week’s anthem is by Handt Hanson. It is a prayer for our hearts to be open to God’s Word, so that we can go out into the world as God’s loving people. In what current situations do our hardened hearts need to be softened so that the seeds of the Word of God can grow?
Hear an instrumental version of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l2HJMdwWng
“Break the Bread, Share the Cup”
“Jesus said to break the bread, share the cup, pass His love around.
This we’ll do to remember Him who taught a loving way to live.
And when we share with this family,
We’re building Christ’s community.
There’s hope and love for all who live.
Let’s find what we can give each other.”
Our communion song this week is “Break the Bread, Share the Cup,” which was written by Nancy R. Chegus and can be found in the collection “All God’s Children Sing.”
“Soil of God, You and I” (MV #174)
“Soil of God, you and I, stand ready to bear
Seeds of faith nourished by God’s tender care.
Growing in everyone for here God is found.
All stand together, we are…
Soil of God, you and I, now ready to be
Part of God’s promise, for others to see.
Open to everyone for here God is found.
All stand together, we are…
Soil of God, you and I, now called to rebirth,
Joining as partners with all of the earth.
Living in harmony for here God is found.
All stand together, this is…
Our closing hymn by jim hannah (1995) reminds us of our role in God’s creation using the metaphors of soil and planting. First, the seed of faith is planted and nourished. Then, the growth of our faith is seen and shared with others. And finally, we find our place within all of God’s creation – for when we become a true part of the Creation, we find God.
“Praise God, praise God.
Praise in the morning, praise in the noon time.
Praise God, praise God.
Praise when the sun goes down.”
Our benediction response is the traditional song, “Praise God,” previously known as “Praise Him.”