INVITATION and READING
Lord, whose love through humble service
bore the weight of human need,
who upon the cross, forsaken,
offered mercy’s perfect deed:
we, your servants, bring the worship
not of voice alone, but hear,
consecrating to your purpose
every gift that you impart. (UMH #581, st.1)
Matthew 25: 34-40 (from the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
All glory be to God on high!
Looking forward to this coming Sunday’s focus on God’s call for clergy and lay, my thoughts gather around really understanding that call as a call to sacrificial service. Whatever form our service takes, we must know that we – each one of us – received the call the moment God claimed us as his own, through the saving works of Jesus, and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
When feeling inadequate or delinquent in my own call, I find inspiration in noticing the good deeds of others around me. When I see a church member caring for the needs of the aged, I find hope. When I see someone I don’t even know offering a helping hand to a stranger, I am heartened. When I witness the arts, in all its forms, truly offering gifts in God’s name, I am deeply moved. All we do, according to our own abilities, works together to further the Kingdom of God. With this understanding I know I am worthy of God’s call, and inspired to follow the selfless examples I see every day.
The hymn “Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service” (UMH #581) is a wonderful hymn that both encourages and challenges us to reaffirm our call to sacrificial service. The text was written by English born Albert F. Bayly (1902-1984). Bayly, a minister in the Congregationalist Church (later United Reformed Church), was invited to write this hymn for the Hymn Society of America ca. 1961. Originally set to the tune HYFRYDOL, the text found a more permanent home paired with BEACH SPRING, which is attributed to American composer B.F. White (1800 –1879). Please let this hymn heighten your own sense of God’s call as First Plymouth Church sings stanzas 1-3.
Dear Lord, as you have called, and continue to call me, I come seeking ways to serve your Kingdom. I have not done all I am capable of doing, but want to do better. I give thanks for the good works of others, and the inspiration they offer me. Help me to keep my mind fixed on serving you, and allow my heart, led by the Holy Spirit, to light the way before me. And in all this, let my conduct reflect your kindness, humility, and mercy. In your gracious name I pray. Amen.
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries