Thursday, September 13, 2018
Today, in Mercy, Paul puts forth a somewhat elaborate argument about what it means to know Christ. Paul’s style is strung with the “if – then” rational of classic Greek debate. Reading this passage might leave us thinking it’s just about dietary customs. But it’s not. It’s about us.
The core of the reading teaches us that the more we grow in the knowledge and love of Christ, the gentler and more merciful we must be with others. We must always lead others to Christ by patience and example rather than by force, criticism or shaming.
Paul says there’s a good reason for that. He says we’re never as smart or holy as we think we are. Any pride or self-righteousness in our practice of faith are sure indications of this deficit. These attitudes lead us to judgment rather than mercy.
In plain terms, Paul is saying that nobody likes or learns from a fat-head or know-it-all. Our faith will inspire only when it humbly reflects the all-knowing, all-merciful God Who loves us even in the inevitable weakness of our humanity.
The music today is a lovely old hymn sung by Harry Dench. Dench, an Australian, sang with the The Moonee Ponds Songsters Of The Salvation Army.
I love many of these robust, open-hearted hymns of yesteryear. In their poetry, they often capture a simple reverence we sometimes lose in today’s music. I hope you might enjoy this one today. It’s good if you read the words first ( And beside, how often do you get to read the word “thither”!
It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Savior!—yet this soul of mine
Would of that love, in all its depth and length,
Its height and breadth, and everlasting strength
Know more and more.
It passeth telling, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Savior!—yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners far and near
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
And love beget.
It passeth praises, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Savior!—yet this heart of mine
Would sing a love so rich, so full, so free,
Which brought an undone sinner such as me
Right home to God.
Oh, fill me, Jesus, Savior, with Thy love;
Lead, lead me to the living fount above!
Thither may I in simple faith draw nigh,
And never to another fountain fly,
But unto Thee.
And when my Jesus face to face I see,
When at His lofty throne I bow the knee,
Then of His love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
My soul shall sing.
Music: It Passeth Knowledge – Harry Dench of The Salvation Army