June 20, 2017
Heart and Soul
June 20, 2017
This week’s sermon text: James 5:13-19
The Book of Psalms sits at the center of the Bible. It is a collection of songs and prayers that express the heart and soul of humanity. ‘Heart’ and ‘soul’ are words of depth; words of honesty about the human condition…filled with pain of despair and/or the buoyancy of joy…and all manner of states in between. They are a model for our interactions and relationships with God. Say your worst; shout your best! Be real; be naked; be totally open to hearing God speak!
The psalms are often quoted in the New Testament. They were embedded in the hearts of the Hebrew people. Knowing that these poems and songs were Jesus’ hymnbook enlivens them for me. Psalm 126 reminds me of Hymn 117, ‘O God our help in ages past; our hope for years to come; our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home.’
Isaac Watts (17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748), an English hymn writer, theologian and logician is recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody”, credited with some 650 hymns. His hymn based on Psalm 126 is entitled ‘Surprising Deliverance’.
When God restored our captive state,
Joy was our song, and grace our theme;
The grace beyond our hopes so great
That joy appeared a painted dream.
The scoffer owns thy hand, and pays
Unwilling honors to thy name;
While we with pleasure shout thy praise,
With cheerful notes thy love proclaim.
When we review our dismal fears,
‘Twas hard to think they’d vanish so;
With God we left our flowing tears,
He makes our joys like rivers flow.
The man that in his furrowed field
His scattered seed with sadness leaves,
Will shout to see the harvest yield
A welcome load of joyful sheaves.
Questions for the Field
- Do you have a favorite psalm? Can you say it by heart?
- Do you have a favorite hymn? Can you sing it by heart?
- What is the importance of carrying these ways of relating to God within us?
Family Field Talk
- With your family or a group of friends, say or read Psalm 23 together.
- Why is this psalm so familiar to us?
- What does it mean to each of you?
- Sing a familiar hymn together (Amazing Grace might be a good choice).
- Again, why is this hymn so well-known?
- What meaning does it hold for you?
Sweet Lord, in poetry and song you give us all manner of expression, and you ask only that it be clearly without guise or deceit. We cannot hide from you and therefore, must in our humility be ready for your forgiveness and love. Whether rescued or waiting, we are your creation – the beloved. Amen.