Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This Sunday at College Church we have a grand alignment of preaching text, complementary scripture reading, Anchor memory verse (and series), and the church calendar. I can assure you that no planning in the church offices brought these together! Our original plan was to begin the Anchor memory program in September, not January - and on that plan we would have memorized the Holy Spirit verses back in February. The preaching text and complementary reading were provided by Pastor Moody when he was still in New Haven, and the Galatians passages had to be worked around a schedule accommodating Missions and the Preaching Workshop guest preacher. The only given in the mix is this year’s date for Pentecost … it always comes 50 days after Easter!

As it turns out our observation of the day is hand and glove with the flow of this excellent preaching series in the Galatian letter. Paul asks: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2-3) Pentecost is the historical redemptive event by which we are able to come to faith, and by which we live out our life in Christ. Let’s celebrate like it’s AD 33!

Our closing hymn for the morning is this apt prayer for the church:

Lord of the Church, we pray for our renewing:
Christ over all, our undivided aim;
fire of the Spirit, burn for our enduing,
wind of the Spirit, fan the living flame!
We turn to Christ amid our fear and failing,
the will that lacks the courage to be free,
the weary labors, all but unavailing,
to bring us nearer what a church should be.

Lord of the Church, we seek a Father’s blessing,
a true repentance and a faith restored,
a swift obedience and a new possessing,
filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord!
We turn to Christ from all our restless striving,
unnumbered voices with a single prayer—
the living water for our souls’ reviving,
in Christ to live, and love and serve and care.

Lord of the Church, we long for our uniting,
true to one calling, by one vision stirred;
one cross proclaiming and one creed reciting,
one in the truth of Jesus and His word!
So lead us on; till toil and trouble ended,
one Church triumphant one new song shall sing,
to praise his glory, risen and ascended,
Christ over all, the everlasting King!

Timothy Dudley Smith
© 1984 Hope Publishing Co.

These words were written to be sung to the folk tune LONDONDERRY AIR.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Ga. 5:25) And let us be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with our whole heart! (Eph. 5:19)

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