Suggested Hymns from

Baptism of the Lord or
First Sunday After Epiphany

Unifying Theme:
Becoming one with God the Creator

Scripture Theme Hymns
Genesis 1:1-5 The first day in all creation 62: All Creatures of Our God and King
690: The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended
Psalm 29 The great God over all creation 126: Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
680: Father, We Praise Thee
Mark 1:4-11 Baptism of Christ, the Son of God 156: I Love to Tell the Story
267: O Love, How Deep
Acts 19:1-7 Baptism into Christ 372: How Can We Sinners Know
379: Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow

Featured Hymn
O Love, How Deep

Hymn #267
Words: 15th cent. Latin; trans. by Benjamin Webb
Music: English melody; harm. from Hymns Ancient and Modern

Fathoming the depth of love. It is an interesting idea, and not just because we have no objective way to measure love. The word fathom itself is interesting. It is a verb that tells us that something (usually water depth) is being measured. It is also a reference to the unit of measure being used, equal to six feet. But where did this measure come from? If we search back into the origins of the word, we find an answer. In Old English, the word fæthm meant outstretched arms, or the length of outstretched arms. With this understanding, it is somehow even more wonderful to consider measuring love against a standard of arms stretched wide to embrace us. Arms stretched wide on a cross to attone for us. Arms stretched wide by Christ the Savior who lives this day and calls us and welcomes us into his kingdom.

This week's featured hymn comes from the 1400s. No author is known, but the time and the themes and the haunting melody carry us back to an image of grand cathedrals and secluded monastaries. With this picutre of a time when Latin was already a dead language and few people could read or write, how much more the mystery of love is impressed on our senses. Even in its English translation, the words stir a place inside us that can only be made complete by filling it with the peace and love of our eternal God. Open your heart to fathom the depth of love expressed as you read the words:

1. O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
it fills the heart with ecstasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!
2. For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.
3. For us he prayed; for us he taught;
for us his daily works he wrought;
by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself, but us.
4. For us to evil power betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death,
for us gave up his dying breath.
5. For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent his Spirit here,
to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
6. All glory to our Lord and God
for love so deep, so high, so broad:
the Trinity whom we adore,
forever and forevermore.

Fathom the depth of God's love. Know that the Lord's arms are stretched to welcome and embrace. Know also that those mighty, outstretched arms are greater than we can measure, sufficient in every situation, reaching to every circumstance.

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.