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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 15 Trust and Obey

Test: John. H. Sammis (1846-1919) Tune: Daniel B. Towner (1850-1919)

Jesus telling Peter to follow him, James Tissot













1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still And with all who will trust and obey

R/Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies But His smile quickly drives it away Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear Can abide while we trust and obey.

R/


3. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet Or we'll walk by His side in the way What He says we will do, where He sends we will go Never fear, only trust and obey.

R/


REFLECTION

There really aren't any hymns about the procedure Jesus recommends in Matthew 18. Looking back at my hymns on the subject I flunked the test and avoided the rules. What I focused on was forgiveness, but that is not what Jesus is talking about here. He is talking about how we live together in the Christian community and our duties to one another because of the love we have received from him.


Even if there are few hymns on Matthew 18:15 especially, the passage appears almost always in congregational constitutions as instructions for how to deal with trouble in the group. Jesus gives us a very detailed piece of advice on how to deal with people in the congregation whose behavior and lives are unbecoming to a Christian. The advice begins with you going to the one who is offending quietly and reproving him or her. If that doesn’t work, then bring another or two, those who have witnessed the sin. Then if the offender refuses to listen you can bring the matter before the church. Then, and only then, the person can be expelled from the congregation.


It is a procedure that protects the privacy both of the offender and those who are concerned for him or her. Today many get antsy about such a process. Who are we to judge, they ask? Jesus says, Judge not. Why should the Christian church have a process that seemingly goes against one of the core teachings of the church? Well, actually it doesn't.

The Death of Sapphira Amborius Francken the Elder 1590s

My Bible study group is studying Acts this year. We have just finished the strange story of Ananias and Sapphira. As you may remember, they conspire together to give a gift to the apostles and the young church, claiming it was the entire sum they had received for selling their property. When Ananias sets the gift at Peter’s feet, he claims it is all the money they received. Peter, prompted by the Holy Spirit, confronts him with his lie, not just to the church, but to God. When Ananias hears this, he falls down dead. The same thing happens to his wife when she repeats the lie.


As our study group discussed the difficulties of the text, we discovered some things. Peter did not curse Ananias. He fell dead maybe from shock or fear, as did his wife. There is no mention of God’s action here. They die on hearing the truth. Something deeply evil and hidden had been revealed. It threatened the community.


We have had conversations now and then tracing back in our own lives how a sin of a parent and grandparent or even great grandparent continues to affect our lives to the present. This is not God’s doing; this is our doing. There is no unraveling those twisted skeins on our own. Only Jesus can do that. But maybe if we followed Jesus' advice, it wouldn't have been quite so knotty.


I heard once about a situation that should have had this kind of intervention. A leader in a congregation had left his wife and was having a flagrant affair with one of his young employees. It was truly a scandal. The pastor asked the trustees what they should do about church discipline. Should he be barred from the altar until he amended his life? The trustees were shocked by the idea. All of us are sinners, they said. When I told a seminary class about this, they were appalled by the pastor’s failure to understand the Gospel. How could one be banned from the table? It was for sinners. Yes, I agreed, but maybe there is more the church could have done. I was also told how the granddaughter of the man had been abused by her father and brothers. That man’s behavior was wreaking its terror still, and continues long after his death. What if the church had spoken clearly at the time? Could it have changed anything, or at least told the granddaughter that the church stood with her? I think that is what Jesus is talking about here. Although we fail often, to be a Christian is to trust and obey.


HYMN INFO

Sammis, born in Brooklyn, moved to Indiana when he was in his twenties. There he was converted. He worked in the YMCA and then studied at McCormack Seminary to become a Presbyterian pastor. He served churches in Iowa, Michigan and Red Wing, Minnesota. In 1909 he moved to Los Angeles where he taught at BIOLA, continuing to write hymns. This is his most famous, by far.


D. B. Towner, the man who set the text to music was a long time colleague of Dwight L. Moody. He had heard a testimony of the man who had said, all I can do is Trust and Obey. He wrote it down on a scrap of paper and gave it to Sammis who wrote the text. Towner composed the tune that was published in Hymns Old and New in 1887. Towner studied briefly with Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876) who also worked with Moody until his tragic death in a railroad accident. Towner earned a doctorate in music and became head of the music department at Moody Bible Institute. He composed over two-thousand hymn tunes during his life.


LINKS

Fountainview Academy


Dan Moen


drolas94


SE Samonte





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