Suggested Hymns

Fifth Sunday During Lent

March 29, 1998

Unifying Theme:
We are not timeless, but God is.
Our lives have purpose today when we seek God.

The Bread and the Cup
Scripture Theme Hymns
Isaiah 43:16-21 Don't dwell on the past; God has a great future for you 724: On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand
Psalm 126 God's people rejoice in His deliverance 116: The God of Abraham Praise
John 12:1-8 Enjoy God today; He is here right now 700: Abide with Me
Philippians 3:4b-14 You ain't seen nothin' yet--the prize still lies ahead 384: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
701: When We All Get to Heaven
723: Shall We Gather at the River

Featured Hymn
Bread of the World

Hymn Number 624
Words by Reginald Heber
Music by John S.B. Hodges

It was Holy Week--the first one, when all of it was actually happening. The Passover observance was coming. Jerusalem was brimming with people. It had already been an eventful week for Christ, for His disciples, and for the city of Jerusalem in general. A triumphant entry on Sunday. Overturning money tables at the temple. Teaching and healing. Debating and sparring with Pharisees and other teachers. So many challenges. So many contests. So many parables. Many eyes were open; many more were closed. Many ears had heard; many more were deaf.

Now it is Thursday. Evening has come. Christ and the disciples have joined for supper in an upstairs room. The disciples sense that something big is getting ready to happen. They had eaten with Christ many times before, but this time they jockey for position at the table. Christ Himself enters the room and begins to wash the men's dusty feet. What could He mean? He says someone will betray Him. Who could He mean? Now He lifts the bread and breaks it. He blesses it. And He says something He has never said before. "Remember me when you do this." What is He talking about? Or more to the point, when is He talking about? You see, it is still Thursday. Christ has not been arrested, and the disciples are oblivious to the plan that is already taking shape. Christ is not gone, and the disciples seemingly have no reason to think that He is going to be gone any time soon. Hadn't He told them that He had to go away so that He could return again? Maybe they experienced "denial" whenever they thought about Christ going away, even for a little while.

It is Holy Week--almost two thousand years later. It is still happening today. The times are still eventful. There are still amazing miracles. There are still dramatic confrontations. There are still those who see and hear; and many more who do not.

This week many Christians will break bread again. Will we remember Him? We did not see Him. What do we "remember"? Perhaps we can take to heart some of the lines from this week's featured hymn:

Bread of the world in mercy broken, 
wine of the soul in mercy shed, 
by whom the words of life were spoken, 
and in whose death our sins are dead: 

Look on the heart by sorrow broken, 
look on the tears by sinners shed; 
and be thy feast to us the token 
that by thy grace our souls are fed.

Reginald Heber (1783-1826) was known for the powerful words that he penned. Other well known hymns that he wrote include "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "God, That Madest Earth and Heaven." He began his ministry in England, but had a passion for world missions. This led to an appointment as Anglican Bishop in Calcutta, India. However, his health failed after only three short years, and he passed away at the young age of 43. May we all remember Christ at His table, and the meaning of His sacrifice. And like Heber, let us share His message in our words and actions, that our lives might also remind those around us of the love and grace of our risen Lord.

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.