HymnSite.com's Suggested Hymns

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 12(17)
July 25, 1999

Unifying Theme:
God is good--and He shares it with us

Scripture Theme Hymns
Genesis 29:15-28
1 Kings 3:5-12
Love perseveres, even at twice the cost
Solomon made wise
127: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
287: O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done
532: Jesus, Priceless Treasure
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Psalm 119:129-136
God is faithful
God's law is good
142: If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee
698: God of the Ages
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 Heaven is like . . . 96: Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above
165: Hallelujah! What a Savior
Romans 8:26-39 Prayer through the Spirit and unity with God 452: My Faith Looks Up to Thee
496: Sweet Hour of Prayer

Featured Hymn
Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Hymn #532
Words by Johann Franck; trans. by Catherine Winkworth
Music from Praxis Pietatis Melica; harm. by J.S. Bach

In high school I used to enjoy going to the local music store to look at the instruments and equipment on display. I was looking at a trumpet one day when the salesman said, "It's a bargain at half the price." I responded that it would indeed be a bargain at half of the price offered. He grinned and said I was the first kid who had caught him on that line. The store was not offering any special prices. Later that year I purchased a trumpet just like the one I had looked at on display--but I bought it in another store. It took all of the money I could earn that summer, but it turned out to be a treasure that opened doors to opportunities for college and participation in church music programs. More than two decades later with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that it would have been a bargain to buy that horn at twice the price I paid.

In the scriptures this week, Jacob had gone to live in the house of Laban and agreed to work seven years so that he could marry Laban's daughter Rachel. Jacob was so happy that seven years seemed to take no time at all. When the wedding day came, though, Jacob found that his bride was Leah--Rachel's older sister. Jacob complained to Laban, who then agreed to let Jacob marry Rachel if Jacob would work seven more years. The scriptures don't indicate that Jacob tried to negotiate better terms. Jacob simply knew that he needed Laban's consent to marry Rachel, and Rachel was the bride he treasured. The conditions for Laban's consent had doubled, but it seems that no price would have been too high.

This week's featured hymn sings of the priceless treasure that we have in Jesus Christ. Written by Johann Franck (1618-1677) and translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), the stanzas of Jesus, Priceless Treasure are deep and pensive. First appearing in 1653 in Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, the words have crossed three and a half centuries, and they still speak to us today in English. Read prayerfully these powerful words.

1. Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
truest friend to me,
long my heart hath panted,
till it well-nigh fainted,
thirsting after thee.
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb,
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
ask for naught beside thee.
2. In thine arms I rest me;
foes who would molest me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms our fear;
sin and hell in conflict fell
with their heaviest storms assail us;
Jesus will not fail us.
3. Hence, all thoughts of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
through the storms may gather,
still have peace within;
yea, whate'er we here must bear,
still in thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

Material things of this world have values measured in dollars and cents. Far greater than that was Jacob's love for Rachel, for whom "twice the price" was no obstacle. Greater still than Jacob's love, though, Christ is a treasure to His people. Christ gave all for us. How can we place a value high enough to describe it? We cannot. Priceless treasure--that is Christ.

God bless you--
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Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.