INVOCATION and READING
We come to still our restless hearts and minds.
We come to realign our thoughts and passions with your will.
Be with us, Lord, as we meditate on your holy word.
Romans 15: 1-13
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says,
“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Glory to you, O God of hope.
Out of almost 500 hymn submissions to The Hymn Society of America (now The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada) “Hope of the World” (UMH #178), written by Georgia Harkness (1891-1974) was chosen to accompany the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in 1954. We reflected on another of her texts last year – “This Is My Song.” It is fitting to highlight another of her works as she was an important American Methodist theologian and philosopher. Highly talented and trained, Harkness became the first female member of The American Theological Society as well as the first woman to attain full professorship in any U.S. theological seminary. Her work did much to further the discourse concerning issues of immigration, international relations (ecumenism), and women’s ordination.
Perhaps more forgotten than she ought to be today, Harkness will forever remain a prominent influence in defining United Methodism in the second half of the twentieth century.
“Hope of the World” so wonderfully expresses the theme of a compassionate Christ that cares for each of us. Christ the comforter, the sustainer, the one true light. He is with us through everything. And, in conquering death, Christ wins everlasting victory that we too may share in life eternal. Praise God – our one and only King!
We hear now musician and songwriter Bryan McFarland singing these words to the tune used when it was first sung in 1954 – DONNE SECOURS, written in 1551 by French composer Louis Bourgeois (1510-1561).
Dear God, we come to you with our faults and fears, conflicts and cares, praying that you will be ever with us in our journey. Fill us with healing and reassurance, that we may find hope overflowing as we are filled with your Holy Spirit. We are energized to do our work in your name.
And so, with grateful hearts, we heed your call to bring hope and love to the suffering. May we reach out – across all that divides us – to offer help and acceptance to those we see as foreign, that our limited perceptions are transformed into boundless witness of your glory.
We pray with one heart – one voice – and one hope in you.
Dedicated to Bruce Sheppard, devoted and hard working friend to Calvary and community.
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries