Hymns and Lessons for Proper 24 (Cycle C)

Often we look around us, and find ourselves in situations where the deck is rigged against us , where we are being taken advantage of, and where the forces arrayed against us are overwhelming! Yet these lessons remind us that for God’s people, there is always reason to hope! But we need to turn to God — not just with a single request, but over and over again. Luther says we need to pound on God’s ears with our prayers as if we were pounding a drum! Not only has God promised us justice, but He has promised it will arrive speedily! We can always have hope in our God and Lord. He is the One who answers prayer.

(Subscribers to my blog need to remember to click on the title of the blog in order to see and hear the YouTube videos of the following hymns.)

The Processional for this Sunday is “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.” (The words to this particular version are a little bit more archaic than the words we will sing on Sunday, but the tempo is so upbeat that I selected this version.)

The Prayer of the Day “collects” our thoughts and focuses our attention on the God who has both commanded us to pray and promised to hear us — even when it seems that our prayers go unheard.

The readings for today from Scripture really bring home how important it is that we pray — and not quit.  Our Old Testament reading comes from Genesis 32:22-30. In this reading, Jacob is preparing to meet his brother Esau whom he had cheated out of his inheritance many years before. As Jacob fears that his brother may still be angry enough to kill him, he spends the night wrestling with God. (An image that “old Christians” frequently use for prayer itself.)

In the Epistle, St. Paul reminds Timothy to “preach the Word when it is popular and also when nobody wants to hear it.” Paul reminds Timothy that “the time is coming” when people will only want to hear teachings that fir what people already believe to be true. They won’t want to hear the Truth that you find in the Word of God.” But in the face of this, Paul reminds Timothy to “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.”

In the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples not to be afraid that their prayers are pestering God. He tells the story of an unjust judge who gave a window what she was asking for just because she kept bugging him. If a corrupt judge answers a poor widow’s prayer just because he doesn’t want her to keep bugging him, how much more will the judge of all the earth answer the prayers of those whom He cherishes?

The Hymn of the Day is the beloved “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”: (This was one of my grandmother’s favorite “ironing hymns.” She would sing hymns while she was ironing — and this one was always one of the hymns she sang.)

The Distribution Hymn is “Let Me Be Yours Forever”
Just in case you don’t already know this wonderful hymn, here is a version you can listen to as you learn the tune (too bad it’s in German — but it is glorious!:

Here is a version with the lyrics, so you can sing along with it:

The Recessional is “O God of Jacob, by whose Hand:”
Here the tune is:

So that you can sing (or hum) along the lyrics are: 1) O God of Jacob, by whose hand Your people still are fed, Who through this weary pilgrimage a wav’ring Israel led: // 2) Our vows, our prayers, we now present before Your throne of grace, O God of Jacob, be the God of their succeeding race. // 3) Through each perplexing path of life our wand’ring footsteps guide; give us this day our daily bread, and shelter fit provide. // 4) Oh, grant us Your protecting care till all our wand’rings cease, that to those mansions kept for us we all may come in peace.

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