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Notes on the Notes – Lent 5 – March 18, 2018

Theme:  To Follow This King!


John 19:1-16a            Psalm 146


The music this week asks for God’s faithfulness to be with us as we move ever-closer to the events of Good Friday.   Through the words of the hymns, we also commit to walking with Jesus to face the cross.

“O Jesus Christ, May Grateful Hymns Be Rising” (VU #329)

“O Jesus Christ, may grateful hymns be rising,
In every city for your love and care;
Inspire our worship, grant the glad surprising
That your blest Spirit rouses everywhere.jesus-wept_1165042_inl

Grant us new courage, sacrificial, humble,
Strong in your strength to venture and to dare;
To lift the fallen, guide the feet that stumble,
Seek our the lonely and God’s mercy share.

Show us your Spirit, brooding o’er each city,
As you once wept above Jerusalem,
Seeking to gather all in love an pity,
And healing those who touch your garment’s hem.”

This hymn, by Beadford Webster (1954), makes reference to Jesus just prior to his entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. In  Luke 19:41 it says, “He beheld the city, and wept over it.”  This, and the tears over the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35 – Lent 1), are the only recorded instances of Jesus’ tears. It is significant that in the one case they flow from the intensity of personal friendship, in the other from that of the intense love of country/people. Neither element of character could well be wanting in the perfect pattern of a holiness truly human. (Source: Bible Hub – Ellicott).

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” (VU #288)

“Great is thy faithfulness, God our Creator;
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!Great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, ever to me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above

Join with all nature in manifold witness to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is thy faithfulness!…

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow –wondrous the portion thy blessings provide.

Great is thy faithfulness!…

Thomas O. Chisholm, a Methodist minister, wrote the poem in 1923 about God’s faithfulness over his lifetime.  The conviction that God is always with us, through good times and bad, has always been a great source of comfort and strength for the faithful.  William Runyan set the poem to music, and it was published that same year and became popular among church groups. The song was exposed to wide audiences after becoming popular with Dr. William Henry Houghton of the Moody Bible Institute and Billy Graham who played the song frequently on his international crusades. The version in Voices United is from the Hymnal of the Evangelical United Brethren (1957).

Listen to Chris Rice singing this hymn with guitar at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k1WhFtVp0o

Hear a quiet instrumental version of the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoFJzsEF3ZM

Watch the Gaither version of the hymn with Wes Hampton at:  https://youtu.be/yNZS5H9aNlY

“Go to Dark Gethsemene” (VU #133)

“Go to dark Gethsemane, you that feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see; watch with him one bitter hour;Jesus condemned
Turn not from his grief away, learn from him to watch and pray.

See him at the judgement hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
See him meekly bearing all; love to all his soul sustained.
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn from Christ to bear the cross.

Calvary’s mournful mountain view; there the Lord of glory see,
Made a sacrifice for you, dying on the accursed tree.
“It is finished,” hear his cry; trust in Christ and learn to die.””

James Montgomery, born of Moravian missionary parents, was a newspaper editor in England who, risking imprisonment, published articles advocating human rights and the abolition of slavery. He created two versions of this text.  The one used here is the earlier, published in 1820, (edited with updated language).  The tune, REDHEAD, by Richard Redhead, was published in 1853.   The words take us to the place of judgement in the Gospel narrative.

Hear a choral version of the hymn at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btd2BItO6Wc

Hear a male soloist with guitar, with an alternate version of the lyrics at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD6tcMroY0A

“We Remember”

“As we gather here, we remember how you turned the water into wine;
How you fed the hungry crowd with five loaves of bread,
How you healed the sick and the blind.
As we gather here, we remember how you gave your life on the tree.
We remember, Lord, your sacrifice,
We remember Calvary.

As we gather here, we remember how you freely gave to those in need,
How you shared your Father’s love, his undying care,
With each word, each thought, every deed.
As we gather here, we remember how you gave your life on the tree.
We remember, Lord, your sacrifice,
We remember Calvary.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain, I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.cross

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

We remember, Lord, your sacrifice,
We remember Calvary.”

The anthem draws us into our Lenten narrative by retelling some of the events of Jesus’ ministry and leading us to the phrase “we remember Calvary.”  It incorporates the traditional hymn “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”  by Isaac Watts.   Watts was deeply disappointed with the hymns of his day, which failed to inspire his parishioners to genuine worship and holy living. His dissatisfaction led him to compose more than six hundred hymns, all designed to call his congregation to a deeper knowledge and worship of God. The hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”  was written in 1707.

“Take Up Your Cross” (VU #561)

“Take up your cross, the Saviour said,
If you would my disciple be;
Take up your cross with willing heart,
And humbly follow after me.

Take up your cross; let not its weight fill your weak spirit with alarm;
Christ’s strength shall bear your spirit up,
And brace your heart, and nerve your arm.

Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
Nor let your foolish pride rebel;
Your Saviour once accepted death upon a cross, on Calvary’s hill.

Take up your cross, and follow Christ,
This not till death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross may hope to wear the glorious crown.”

Charles Everest, a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, was rector of a parish in Hamden, Connecticut for thirty-one years.  He wrote this sermon in verse at the age of nineteen and published it in his anthology, Visions of Death and other Poems (1833).  The tune, HESPERUS, was composed by Henry Baker, a civil engineer, during his undergraduate years at Exeter College, Oxford.  It was first published anonymously in 1866.

take up your cross

Categories: Notes on the Notes