Suggested Hymns from

Sundays after Pentecost

Proper 8(13)

Unifying Theme:
The Lord Asks All; Promises All; Provides All

Scripture Theme Hymns
Genesis 22:1-14
Jeremiah 28:5-9
The Lord Will Provide
The Prophet of Peace
672: God Be with You till We Meet Again
714: I Know Whom I Have Believed
Psalm 13
Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
Waiting and Trusting in the Lord
Sing of the Mercies of the Lord
462: 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
467: Trust and Obey
Matthew 10:40-42 Receiving the Lord's Messenger and Providing for His Children 453: More Love to Thee, O Christ
591: Rescue the Perishing
Romans 6:12-23 The Lord Has Provided; We Are Under Grace 381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
616: Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast

Featured Hymn
More Love to Thee, O Christ

Hymn #453
Text: Elizabeth P. Prentiss, 1818-1878
Music: William H. Doane, 1832-1915

Have you ever had a vision of what life should be, believed it was within your grasp, and then helplessly watched as it vanished before your eyes? When it was gone, what did you see? Think carefully. Perhaps the real question is whether you ever had your eyes open at all, for when a vision fades away, all that is left is reality. Visions can be inspiring. They can be wonderful and motivating. But reality is what we must deal with as we aspire to realize the greatest of visions.

This week's featured hymn was written by Elizabeth Prentiss (1818-1878). Born and raised in Portland, Maine as the daughter of a Congregational minister, Prentiss showed a gift for writing at a young age. At 16 she was published, and through the course of her life she would write more than twenty books. Her most famous book, Stepping Heavenward, sold over 150,000 copies and was translated into several languages. She married George Prentiss, a minister she had met while teaching school in Richmond, Virginia. Her husband's career led them to live in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey, and Switzerland. Their home, though, was in New York City, with a summer home in Dorset, Vermont. They had six children, but two died at a young age. Soon after losing the two children and suffering from illness herself, Prentiss prayed for "something special" from God. It was then that she was inspired to write the words of the hymn More Love to Thee, O Christ. It was 13 years before she showed them to her husband, who urged her to have them published.

In Prentiss' writings we see visions of a holy perfection that her literary characters aspire to, even as they deal with the challenging circumstances that they face. In a very real sense, her writings reflect her own experience. She had a vision of love, but mingled in it was an earthly joy that she had craved. With the loss of her children, the vision faded and she was left with a reality that cut to her very soul. In her sorrow and in her pain, she came to realize that the greatest reality of love is found when the believer makes Christ the object of love. As you read her words, consider the pain of a mother's loss, and the solace of divine love:

1. More love to thee, O Christ,
more love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make
on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!
2. Once earthly joy I craved,
sought peace and rest;
now thee alone I seek,
give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!
3. Let sorrow do its work,
come grief and pain;
sweet are thy messengers,
sweet their refrain,
when they can sing with me:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!
4. Then shall my latest breath
whisper thy praise;
this be the parting cry
my heart shall raise;
this still its prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, more love to thee!

What is your vision today? What is the reality that you are facing? Where does your love for Christ fit in that picture?

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.