Notes on the Notes – March 1, 2020
The Edge of Our Temptation
This week’s music:
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (VU #664)
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Christ the Saviour is our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do our friends despise, forsake us? Are we tempted to despair?
Jesus’ strength will shield our weakness, and we’ll find new courage there.”
The words for this hymn were originally written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855 as a poem to comfort his ill mother who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. He could not return to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed this poem. Years later, one of Joseph’s friends discovered his poems and they were published in a book called Hymns and Other verses.” The tune to the hymn was composed by Charles Crozat Converse in 1868.
Hear the country singer, Alan Jackson at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X35JDIdQF5A
Watch a video about the creation of the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKjUoE2fack
Hear the Voice of Praise Quartet at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XRmGEbH0qs
“From the Dawning of Creation” (VU #121)
“From the dawning of creation,
You have loved us as your own;
Stay with us through all temptation,
Make us turn to you alone,
Make us turn to you alone.
Gentle Jesus, mighty Spirit,
Come inflame our hearts anew,
We may all your joy inherit
If we bear the cross with you,
If we bear the cross with you.”
Each week during the season of Lent, we will be using selected verses of the hymn “Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery,” written by Marty Haugen (1984).
“As the Sun with Longer Journey” (VU #111)
“As the sun with longer journey melts the winter’s snow and ice,
With its slowly growing radiance warms the seed beneath the earth,
May the sun of Christ’s uprising gently bring our hearts to life.
Through the days of waiting, watching in the desert of our sin,
Searching on the far horizon for a sign of cloud or wind,
We await the healing waters of our Saviour’s victory.
Praise be given to the Maker of the seasons’ yearly round:
To the Speaker through the Spoken in their living Breath of love
As the ever turning seasons roll to their eternal rest.”
The words for this Lenten hymn are by John Patrick Earls (1981). The season of Lent coincides with the coming of spring, a time when people wait for longer days with a feeling of hope and expectation. As Christians, we also face the season of Lent with hope and expectation for the coming of Easter. The music is a French traditional carol called PICARDY (ca 17th century), and is also known as the tune for the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”
“Jesus, Tempted in the Desert” (VU #115)
Jesus, tempted in the desert; lonely, hungry, filled with dread:
“Use your power,” the tempter tells him, “Turn these barren rocks to bread!”
“Not alone by bread,” he answers, “Can the human heart be filled.
Only by the Word that calls us is our deepest hunger stilled!”
Jesus, tempted at the temple, high above its ancient wall:
“Throw yourself from lofty turret, angels wait to break your fall!”
Jesus shuns such empty marvels, feats that fickle crowds request:
“God, whose grace protects, reserves us, we must never vainly test.”
Jesus, tempted on the mountain by the lure of vast domain:
“Fall before me! Be my servant! Glory, fame, you’re sure to gain!”
Jesus sees the dazzling vision, turns his eyes another way:
“God alone deserves our homage! God alone will I obey!”
When we face temptations power, lonely, struggling, filled with dread,
Christ, who knew the tempter’s hour, come and be our living bread.
By your grace, protect, preserve us lest we fall, your trust betray.
Yours, above all other voices, be the Word we hear, obey.”
This text about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is from Herman Stuempfle’s The Word Goes Forth (1990.) While the first verses retell the story of Jesus, the closing verse is a prayer to Jesus to be with us as we face the modern temptations that separate us from God. The tune we will be using is EBENEZER, a famous Welsh hymn tune composed by Thomas John Williams (1869 – 1944).
“Bread of Life”
“At this table, Lord, we lay our burdens down;
At your feet we humbly kneel to pray.
At the foot of the cross, we contemplate the cost as we share this feast today.
Lord, break your bread of life for me;
Feed my hunger, set my spirit free;
Pour out your grace on me.
Lord, fill my cup from the fountain of your love.
Open my eyes that I might see;
Break your bread of life, Lord, for me.
At this table, Lord, we renew our strength;
From this cup we drink of boundless grace.
Teach us, Lord, how to share that bounty of your care
When we leave this holy place.
Lord, break your bread of life for me…”
Joel Raney’s anthem encourages us to lay our guilt and our burdens down, knowing that we are forgiven through grace. Through the sacrament of communion, we are transformed.
“When We are Tested” (MV #65)
“When we are tested and wrestle alone,
Famished for bread when the world offers stone,
Nourish us, God, by your word and your way,
Food that sustains us by night and by day.
When in the desert we cry for relief,
Pleading for paths marked by certain belief,
Lift us to love you beyond sign and test,
trusting your presence, our only true rest.
When we are tempted to barter our souls,
Trading the truth for the power to control,
Teach us to worship and praise only you,
Seeking your will in the work that we do.
When we have struggled and searched through the night,
Sorting and sifting the wrong from the right,
Saviour, surround us with circles of care,
Angels of healing, of hope, and of prayer.”
This hymn comes to us from Ruth Duck (1996). It is rooted in the struggles of Jesus in the wilderness before he started his ministry. This lament asks God to be with us, even in the most extreme of circumstances. We will be using the traditional Irish tune, SLANE, commonly known as the tune for the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”
“From this Place of Prayer and Praising”
“From this place of prayer and praising, cross and table, well-worn pews,
God, we leave to work and witness, living every day for you.
Bless us on our Lenten journey, Loving Parent, Holy Friend;
Spirit, guide your people onward till once more we meet again.”
Our benediction response for the the season of Lent will be sung to the familiar hymn tune, BEACH SPRING (VU #374).