We as Christians are called to reflect God’s divine love for us to the people around us.
The anthem text is based on I Peter 1:22-25. In verse 22, Peter wrote, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” NIV
“Because he [the Christian] is reborn, the life of God is in him. The great characteristic of the life of God is love, and so the Christian must show that divine love for men.” …from The Letters of James and Peter
(revised edition) by William Barclay
Peter described a love that is sincere, deep, and from the heart. Consider these scripture lessons about love: *John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another.” *John 15: 12 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” *James 2: 8-10 – “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” *Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
I Peter 1:23-25 references Isaiah 40:6-8, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ “ NIV
Without Christ, life is like grass and flowers: it does not last. With Christ, we are assured of eternal life, and we are drawn to an obedient earthly life of meaningful, purposeful works supported by Christian love for all. In appreciation for the death and resurrection of Christ, we as Christians are called to live a life which reflects our relationship with God by using the gifts that God gives us to serve others with love and humility.
…paraphrased from the Disciples’ Study Bible preface to I Peter & scripture footnotes
Lord, cause me to have sincere love for others that is the result of my faith in Christ, my appreciation for His sacrificial love, and my desire to reflect Christ living in me. Then help me to show that love to everyone I meet and in all that I do and say.
See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, By the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
For all flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away. But the word of the Lord endureth forever. Amen
Hymn spotlight: #435 – O God of Every Nation
William Reid wrote the hymn text in 1958. In the late 1950s following two world wars and the Korean War, the Cold War was in full swing by 1958 which led to the threat of World War III. In writing the hymn, Rev. Reid “combined personal experience, theological understanding, parish knowledge, and poetic skill. Reid served in the United States Army Medical Corps (1943-1945), earned three battle stars, and was imprisoned in Germany for eight months. He understood the nature of war. His theological education at Yale Divinity School, service in local congregations, and cultivation of the craft of hymn writing provide the background for this hymn.” from - www.umcdiscipleship.org
Anthem Devotional by Ann Miller, FUMC Chancel Choir
Anthem Music by Joseph Roff