Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like....

The Kingdom of heaven is like…..

Today we will hear more examples of Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of heaven.   Matthew’s gospel is once again paired with readings that describe the King.  Last week the Book of Wisdom described a heavenly king who’s might is a source of justice and who judges with clemency.  Today’s reading from the Book of Kings describes an earthly king; Solomon.  You will notice similarities between these as the writer of the Book of Wisdom drew upon his knowledge of Solomon to describe the heavenly king.   

Note:  While we as Christians, acclaim Christ as King; the Book of Wisdom and Kings were written before Christ’s birth.

The word wisdom is virtually synonymous with Solomon.  Today’s reading from the Book of Kings is one major source of this association.  Instead of asking for riches and power, Solomon asks God for an understanding heart to judge God’s people and know right from wrong.  

The text of today’s gathering song “Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning” (#520) puts a similar desire for God’s wisdom on our lips and in our hearts.  The title contains just 2 of the names for God of the composer; Ruth Duck.  

Ruth Duck is professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where she has been on the faculty since 1989.  She was president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, an organization of liturgical scholars.  She has written numerous books and articles about Christian worship.  Her hymns are included in the hymnals of 14 different denominations.

I had originally planned to use Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning as our recessional hymn but changed my mind.  It is exactly what a gathering hymn needs to be:  a gateway to meeting God in Word and Sacrament.  I was also concerned that if left to the recessional hymn this essential text might go unsung and unnoticed.  

By no means am I denigrating our recessional song “A Rightful Place” a contemporary composition by Steve Angrisano based on the confessions of St. Augustine.  Steve is  also the co-composer (along with Sarah Hart) of today’s communion song; We Remember, We Believe.

Blessed to be serving at St. Mary’s,


Today’s Music Selections

Gathering            Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning      #520
Offertory             Amazing Grace   #431
Communion        We Remember, We Believe            In bulletin
Recessional        A Rightful Place                                 #632

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