Suggested Hymns from

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

(Year C)

Unifying Theme:
God always has and always will love you,
whether people do or not!

Scripture Theme Hymns
Jeremiah 1:4-10 God has always known us; the Lord provides the word 569: We've a Story to Tell to the Nations
600: Wonderful Words of Life
Psalm 71:1-6 The Lord, our hope from birth 369: Blessed Assurance
568: Christ for the World We Sing
Luke 4:21-30 The home town prophet 289: Ah, Holy Jesus
444: O Young and Fearless Prophet
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 The excellent way of love 470: My God, I Love Thee
557: Blest Be the Tie That Binds

Featured Hymn
Wonderful Words of Life

Text: Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Music: Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876
Tune: WORDS OF LIFE, Meter: 86.86.66 with Refrain

Some people are born with a gift for words. When coming from their mouths or pens, words are tremendously powerful. They bring good news and bad news. They make us laugh and they make us cry. They can build people up or tear them down.

Philip Bliss (1838-1876) had a gift for words. His story is incredible. The writer of hundreds of hymns and poems, he grew up mostly in Pennsylvania. He had very little schooling through age ten, and he left home at the age of eleven to make a living for himself. He worked mostly in lumber yards and logging camps. Despite the rowdy environment that he lived in, he became a regular participant in Methodist camp meetings and revival services because of the strong faith that his parents had instilled in him. He made time between jobs to attend school and study music. By the time he was eighteen, Bliss had completed all of the requirements to receive teaching credentials, and he took a job as a schoolmaster.

From that point, Bliss' path began to cross with many of the best known Christian evangelists, hymn writers, and composers of his time. He received voice instruction from J.G. Towner and guidance from William B. Bradbury. He met D.L. Moody during a revival in Chicago, and was invited by Moody to become his music director. Bliss turned the offer down, and Moody teamed up with Ira Sankey instead. In the years that followed, Bliss would combine with Sankey to prepare many hymns and hymn collections. A month before his untimely death at the age of 38, Bliss was approached by Horatio Spafford, the writer of It Is Well With My Soul. At Spafford's request, Bliss composed the tune for that famous hymn.

From humble beginnings and unlikely surroundings, Bliss used his God given gift of words to share the message of salvation in a way that few others can. This week's featured hymn focuses on words. They are "beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life." Enjoy these words, a gift from God to Philip Bliss, and a gift from both of them to all of us:

1. Sing them over again to me,
wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see,
wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty
teach me faith and duty.
2. Christ, the blessed one, gives to all
wonderful words of life;
sinner, list to the loving call,
wonderful words of life;
all so freely given,
wooing us to heaven.
3. Sweetly echo the gospel call,
wonderful words of life;
offer pardon and peace to all,
wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior,
sanctify forever.

Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.

May God's wonderful words of life bring joy to you today and every day.

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.