Isaiah 45:1-7; Matthew 22:15-22
Text: Gracia Grindal Tune: Old 124th
1. All ministries of steel, imper’al swords,
Cannot perform their ends unless the Lord,
In ways we cannot understand or know,
Works through the light and darkness, weal and woe,
Works through the light and darkness, weal and woe.
2. Like doors of bronze that shatter, all will break
Before the progress of our Lord who makes All work together; treas’ries open up
Even when first it seems there is no hope
Even when first it seems there is no hope.
3. God’s own dread purposes will be fulfilled,
Both wise and foolish rulers do God’s will.
We cannot fathom, cannot understand
All of the myst’ries hidden in God’s hand,
All of the myst’ries hidden in God’s hand.
4. All we can pray is “Lord, your will be done,”
And falling on the mercies of your Son,
Cry, “God, have mercy,” as you work for good,
For who can stand against the will of God,
For who can stand against the will of God?
5. Here in the kingdoms ruled by might and steel,
We trust the promise you are working still.
Help us to live by faith and not by sight,
Trusting the unknown myst’ries of your might,
Trusting the unknown myst’ries of your might.
Coppyright 2012 from A Treasury of Faith, Wayne Leupod Editions. https://wayneleupold.com
MEDITATION Dear Friends, I do this with some hesitation since I was taught not to blow my own horn, but over the past fifteen years or so I wrote a hymn for every text, excluding the Psalms, in the Revised Common Lectionary. Wayne Leupold Editions has published all of them and all have new melodies. Some of you might be interested in them. Most can be sung to traditional melodies which I will note in the tune attribution. I will present one every Monday so that you can think about it through the week.
Every Sunday during the last hymn of the Sunday service, my father would read the lessons for the next Sunday and have them in his mind as he was greeting people afterwards. He didn’t study them until Tuesday morning when he began the work on his sermon for the next Sunday. What he had stored in his unconscious mind on Sunday, however, had done its work and he had some ideas and a richness that he would never have found if he had started on Thursday night with his sermon. This is a classic technique of invention in Greek rhetoric. For the rest of the week he would write the sermon and shape it. On Friday he would begin preaching it to himself, off and on, until early Sunday morning--we would overhear him preaching in the basement—so that the sermon was ready Sunday morning. Therefore, from now on, Monday will feature my lectionary hymn texts. If that does not appeal to you, don’t click on the blog. If it does and you might use it somewhere—I know we are not singing much right now—you can easily get permission from WLE. I can see that you get a copy of the new tune if you would like. Thanks. Click here to see the hymnbooks.
The issues of government are on our minds almost full time just now. In the Gospel text, Jesus cuts right through the efforts of the teachers to catch him up on whether or not he pays taxes. His remark on showing them the image of Caesar on the coin Peter finds in the fish, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s utterly stopped them.
His comment echoes down to our time. What is Caesar’s is important; life is much better when all is well in that department, but it is not ultimate. God’s kingdom is. Then we have work to do deciding how the two intersect and work together or against each other. Christians can view what is going on in Caesar’s world from the point of view of eternity and condemn what they see, but they cannot live apart from Caesar and his laws, even if they are sent to jail for their opposition. Christian history is filled with heroes who did speak against the powers that be and suffered for it.
Next Sunday’s texts point us to the question of God and Caesar very clearly. It is for us to pray, “O, Lord, your will be done,” and go about our lives faithfully.
This was written in 2010 as a response to Isaiah 45:1-7, and also Christ’s comment on God and Caesar. It has a new tune, but the old French tune with its long phrases also works well. Listen to a version of the French Psalm and sing along. The French Huguenot psalm paraphrasers worked in a different poetic universe from the English. While you can sing many of the English psalm paraphrases to one tune, the French tradition was different. Their tunes were unique to each psalm so if one knew the French psalter tune one would know immediately which psalm was being sung.
Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah and Scottish Singers
Westminster Covenanter/Free Church of Scotland
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