Day 2 at Naracoorte.
Here’s a choice from the ‘God: The Holy Spirit’ section of the hymnbook.
As with a lot of older hymns there are a variety of verse settings and lyric changes around.
The tune ST CUTHBERT seems to be pretty standard, though.
Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed
His tender last farewell,
A Guide, a Comforter bequeathed
With us to dwell.
He came in semblance of a dove
With sheltering wings outspread
Thy holy balm of peace and love
On earth to shed.
He came sweet influence to impart,
A gracious, willing Guest,
While He can find one humble heart
Wherein to rest.
And His that gentle voice we hear,
Soft as the breath of even,
That checks each thought, that calms each fear,
And speaks of heaven.
Here’s a Songs of Praise rendition.
Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 21
Q & A 36
Q What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love,1 peace of conscience,2 joy in the Holy Ghost,3 increase of grace,4 and perseverance therein to the end.*5
*1 Romans 5:5.
*2 Romans 5:1.
*3 Romans 14:17.
*4 2 Peter 3:18.
*5 Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5.
Songs of preparation: Forevermore May The LORD’s Glory Sound (Psalm 108), The Splendour Of The King – How Great Is Our God, and Glory Be To God The Father.
Call to worship:
Prayer of Approach and Confession: acknowledging with thanks the gift of the Holy Spirit and asking God to shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth.
Song of assurance, confession of faith, doxology: There Is A Redeemer; Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 53; Worship, Honour, Glory, Blessing.
Consecutive reading: Ezekiel 9: 1 – 11, Ezekiel’s vision continues; God’s executioners destroy the idolators of Jerusalem while the faithful are identified and spared.
Bible memorisation: Acts 10:43.
Praise: Spirit Of God, Unseen As The Wind.
Reading: Acts 8: 25-40
Sermon: New Life For A Dead Tree – God’s saving grace brings an individual who is a conspicuous outsider fully into the people of God.
Pastoral prayer, tithes and offerings.
Departing praise: Holy Spirit, Living Breath Of God.
The AFL strung me along until late on Sunday to dispel any sense that I might have tipped perfect rounds.
It’s hard to feel bad about an AFL round where Brisbane wins and Collingwood loses.
And my two errors in the ARL were decided by one point each.
Now we’re into State of Origin season where form gets even more erratic. If that’s possible.
NRL (last round 6/8; season tally 42/80)
AFL (last round 7/9; season tally 40/63)
Greater Western Sydney
Back to the Border Watch after a colleague submitted an article while I was busy last week.
This week’s article starts in reality TV and ends up with the Holy Spirit.
It also makes use of a thought attributed to Simone Weil from this review by Peter Adam as one of its turning points.
The paper chose to title this one ‘Reality Different From Television’.
When it comes to reality competitive television shows I prefer the cooking ones to the renovation ones. Not that I actually cook any of the recipes; but I do like food more than bathrooms and bedrooms. Why would anyone put a dozen cushions on their bed anyway?
Regardless of the type of show, any format that features a competitive element with a winner at the end will have good guys and bad guys. With each new series, as competitors are introduced, we wait to see who it is that we’re not going to like.
You have to be patient. They don’t emerge wearing a black hat, twirling a long moustache and laughing in sinister fashion. More likely they’ll be uttering passive-aggressive criticism, or even aggressive-aggressive criticism. They’ll talk everyone else down, while making all the same errors and demonstrating a lack of skills themselves. The longer they stay in the competition the more our desire to see them ejected increases. They are the villains.
We know we’re being manipulated through the selective editing of hours and hours of purposefully created recordings, but we still emotionally invest in a storyline where we want to see our favourites come out on top. It’s an element of all drama. The villains create the tension and maintain our interest.
Oddly enough real life is the opposite of entertainment.
I recently read a comment attributed to Simone Weil “that in fiction evil people are interesting, and good people are boring, whereas in real life, good people are interesting and evil people are boring.”
In a culture that increasingly blurs the lines between real life and entertainment this distinction is very helpful and needs to be remembered.
Navigating the incredible complexity of each of our own lives is best done in the company of those who have faced their own adversities and inner demons and made their way forward with integrity. We draw wisdom, strength and direction from their example and presence.
The disciples had found this to be true of the three years or so they had spent with Jesus. They had learned much, but more than that, they had grown simply by following him. They feared for what their lives would be when he was gone.
Meeting their fears and concerns, Jesus told his followers that they would have another companion, the Holy Spirit. All of Jesus’ people would know the presence of this one who brings comfort, encouragement, counsel, and is our advocate before the Father. The work of the Holy Spirit is just like having Jesus personally present with each Christian, all the time.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is not the splashy loud exuberance that we experience in dramatic entertainment. In the tradition of the Christian church the adjective most associated with his work is ‘quiet’. But if you desire the steady presence and support needed to sustain you through the challenges of your lifetime he’s the only companion who’ll see you all the way home.