Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Sermon BEFORE the Sermon

This morning, I was blessed by a father and his young daughter. They were sitting in front of us during church. We were asked to stand to sing a song. This father scooped up his young daughter (she must be about 4) in his arms and she wrapper her little arms around his neck. He sang in her ear. She hugged him close and with her little hands turned his face so she could whisper in his ear. He listened and then turned and whispered something back. And she snuggled close, and hugged him and kissed his neck. He, while singing, kissed the top of her head. He sang some more and the whole scenario repeated itself. And again.

And I thought to myself, "That's how God loves me!" I know my own Dad loved me the best he knew how, but I always felt I couldn't please him. And he was very strict and not very demonstrative of his love. But this daddy knew how to show his little girl how much he loves her! And isn't that how God is--always hugging us close and whispering how much He loves us. I could barely keep singing!
(Picture at right is artwork by David Bowman)

And then, the sermon started out in Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

Wow. That was exactly what I had just witnessed. The sermon was awesome. And the sermon BEFORE the sermon was even more awesome!!

And then this evening--while I was cleaning and sorting, I was listening to a GLAD cd. I've listened to it hundreds of times before. But tonight, the song called "Arise my Soul, Arise" really caught my attention. The original lyrics were by Charles Wesley, and then adapted by GLAD. And they seemed so fitting for everything the day brought today. So here they are:

Arise my soul, arise
Shake off your guilty fears.
The bleeding sacrifice
in my behalf appears
Before the throne He stands,
Before the throne He stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above
for me to intercede
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead
Before the throne of Grace
Before the throne of Grace.
He gladly takes my sinful place.

Five bleeding wounds He bears
Received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers
They strongly plead for me
Forgive , forgive they cry
Forgive, forgive they cry
This ransomed sinner must not die.

The Father hears Him pray
His dear anointed One,
He cannot turn away
the presence of His Son,
He sees the priceless blood
He sees the priceless blood
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled
His pardoning voice I hear
He owns me for His child
I can no longer fear
With boldness I draw nigh
With boldness I draw nigh
And “Abba Father, Abba Father,
Abba Father”, I cry.

Arise my soul, arise
I can no longer fear.

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