“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
Traditionally, the western Liturgical calendar celebrates the Sundays following Pentecost is a somewhat different way. Last Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost is often referred to as Trinity Sunday, and it celebrates the doctrine of the Trinity, or the three divine beings who are distinct from one another in their relations of origin but who are each God, whole and entire. Too esoteric? That’s not surprising since the concept is such a difficult one to comprehend, and for that reason, it is considered to be one of the great mysteries of faith. Just as God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14 NIV), the trinity is what it is!
Today, this same western Liturgical calendar turns a page in the season of the church year, more commonly referred to as “After Pentecost.” There is a change in the way the readings are presented since a revision in the “common lectionary” occurred as a result of ecumenical cooperation between the more liturgical churches, most notably, some Protestant ones, such as Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian.
These are all readings from a common source, the Bible, but are assembled with the specific intent of honoring the pattern of observances of festivals and seasons throughout the remainder of the liturgical calendar. These are by no means special nor do they hold any mystical power to inspire. They are simply intended to unite the traditions of the seasons of man with those of faith. That does not mean that all of these significant days have been included in this revised compilation. But it is an attempt to introduce the most significant ones, and allow that they be better understood by man who was somewhat less sophisticated and who was often minimally educated at the time the amendments were drafted. So, for example, you may find the reading for today comes from the book of Genesis, where man first becomes stained by sin. Then the Psalm offered will further speak of the disobedience that occurred in the Garden.
Utilizing this format made reaching all people with His word, in a way that would be remembered, much easier and allowed man to take in the readings and scriptures as food for the soul, just as the food on your table is so necessary for your physical journey through life! Which is why the reading and Psalm that follows are intimately connected. The book, 1 Kings, is considered to have been given as a means of explaining the fall of the Jewish kingdom at the hands of Babylon in 586 BC, but whose occurrence was necessary to the events which would allow its eventual return as a powerhouse of faith.
The reading that follows is from 1 Kings 8:(22-23) and (41-43) and exalts the greatness of God by asking man to herald His name throughout the earth.
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart… 1 Kings 8:22-23
41 ‘Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42—for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays towards this house, 43 then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built. 1 King 8:41-43
And today’s Psalm which talks of singing a “new song” doesn’t mean making music but rather, to sing of the greatness and sovereignty, of the Almighty!
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols; but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 9 Worship the LORD in holy array; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:1-9 (RSV).
While many things remain a mystery to most of us, sometimes it’s simply a matter of looking for the tie that connects two seemingly different passages, written by two entirely different men during two different periods in the history of faith. And when you look at it that way, somehow it does not seem quite as confusing as it once was!
“DEAR LORD AND FATHER OF MANKIND”
a hymn commonly sung on this, the start of
Text: John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807-1892
Music: Frederick C. Maker, 1844-1927
1. Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
2. In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee.
3. O sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!
4. Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
5. Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.
Click below to view the video of The Graduate Choir NZ (New Zealand) with Nicholas Sutcliffe (organ) perform
“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”
on TVNZ’s Praise Be.
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