End the year with “All glory be to Christ”

I stumbled upon this video last week and haven’t been able to get it out of my head (which is a good thing!)  The band, Kings Kaleidoscope, has taken the traditional New Year’s Eve song, Auld Lang Syne, and put new gospel lyrics to it.

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ere his people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

credits
from Joy Has Dawned, released 27 November 2012
Words by Dustin Kensrue, arrangement by Kings Kaleidoscope / © Dead Bird Theology (ASCAP), It’s All About Jesus Music (ASCAP)

Jesus – the refugee

Christmas is the ultimate reminder that God cares about us.  Jesus has come to bring healing to our painful world.  But his work of redemption does not come from a place of abstract knowledge.  Jesus works with an insiders knowledge of the pain we all see and suffer.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus’ family was quickly thrown into disarray.  After receiving a message from God regarding the murderous intentions of King Herod, Jesus’ father, Joseph “rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.” (Matthew 2:14-15a)

I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Joseph, Mary and Jesus to get up in the night and make a dash for the Egyptian border 90 miles away.  Fleeing for their lives, Joseph and Mary responded to circumstances which were beyond their control.  A holiday to Egypt was not in the plan of this young family.

According to the United Nations, a person is a refugee who “owing to a UNwell-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

If I’m reading this correctly – Joseph, Mary and Jesus would qualify – they were officially refugees in Egypt.

 

There are over 40 million refugees in the world and the vast majority of them are in the developing world.  I don’t know what it’s like to be uprooted from your home to flee to a another country for protection. But Jesus does.

The flight to Egypt was just the beginning for Jesus.  The pain of rejection, the pain of betrayal, the pain of homelessness, the pain of loneliness, the pain of physical beatings, the pain of death – Jesus knows pain.

He personally understands the pain of this world.  God doesn’t give us all the reasons why we suffer so much pain, but Jesus does understand it personally.

Even in the mystery of your heartache and the heartaches of this world – take comfort – Jesus understands.  And he is working to make all things new.

They truly were wise men

Matthew 2 verse 11 reads: And going into the house they (the wise men) saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

These wise men from the east, probably from Iraq or Iran, came with a large traveling group. They were not kings, but advisors to the king.  Much like the Prime Minister’s cabinet today.
wise men
These wise men traveled from a far away country;  they did not have the scriptures to guide them; and they were ethnically different from Jesus.  How did they react when they found the baby Jesus?

They worshipped.

Isn’t it interesting that first ones to worship Jesus are astrologers from Iraq or Iran? The birth of Jesus was to be a blessing to the nations and it’s outsiders  who first worship.  The story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is full of surprises.  Again and again we see those outside traditional religious power structures –  foreigners, women, and the poor who recognize Jesus for who he is.

The first bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle, comments on these wise men:
The conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith. They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him–but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving–but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary’s knee, and worshiped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new-born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world. “They fell down and worshiped Him.”We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible.

This Christmas season, may we worship Jesus as well.  Following in the footsteps of the wise men from the East  – who really were truly wise.

A fool flaunts his folly

Seeing Mo Farah on BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards last night reminded me of this picture which I saw in Shepherd’s Bush across from the Green on Uxbridge Road. Mo - racism

The racism is obvious but this Proverb from chapter 16 also came to mind:

In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
    but a fool flaunts his folly.

The spelling screams out the truth of this proverb – “a fool flaunts his folly.”

Lord have mercy on London.

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