The Readings for this Sunday
This Hebrew scripture lesson tells the story of the creation of woman to be a companion with man after God had made the animals and the man had named them. The first human is shown to be superior to all other creatures by his power of language. But he still has no partner. So God shapes woman from his rib, and together they are a common humanity; they are “one flesh.” The man leaves his own family to share life with the woman in an innocence where sexuality is a source of neither embarrassment nor contention.
The psalmist glorifies the Lord, Sovereign of the earth and the magnificent heavens, who has made human life to have mastery over all other earthly creatures.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews teaches that Jesus, the exact imprint of God’s being and the pioneer of our salvation made perfect through suffering, is superior to all the angelic order. God inspired the prophets but has now spoken through a Son, the heir of all things, and through whom the worlds were created. For a while made lower than angels, he now through his death sanctifies all whom he calls brothers and sisters.
In the gospel Jesus, asked about divorce, reaches back to the creation story to set before his hearers the ideal of the marriage relationship, and then blesses children. In Jesus’ lifetime there were many views on divorce, some strict and some more lenient. In one sense, Jesus is the strictest of all: what through natural union God has made one cannot be separated by human action. Yet, in another sense, Jesus’ answer refused to deal with the question in the way it is asked. Instead he honors the solemnity and purpose of marriage. Anything less is sin, which cannot be dismissed by human regulations. His disciples seem surprised by this teaching and also by his embracing of children.
Music in Worship
A time to prepare heart, mind, and body for worship.
#518 "Christ is made the sure Foundation"
#405 "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small"
#455 "O love of God …"
#693 "Just as I am, without one plea"
Insert "It is well with my soul"
#680 "O God, our help in ages past"
A time to give thanks for God's nourishment in Word and Sacrament
Processional Hymn #518 (Westminster Abbey) " " This classic Anglican tune, which is also appropriate for weddings, begins worship in accordance with today's Readings, the sanctity of marriage and family.
Hymn of Praise: #405 (Royal Oak) "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small" This is in honor of Saint Francis, whose day we celebrated on the fourth of October (October 4).
Sequence Hymn: #455 (Dunedin) "O Love of God, how strong and true" Consider, God's "uncomprehended" Love. An amazing love even when trials are "beyond all knowledge and all thought."
Offertory Hymn: #693 (Woodworth) "Just as I am, without one plea" The text of this hymn is by Charlotte Elliot (1789 - 1871). It is the 'theme song' for those people who desire to make a Confession of Faith, a dedication to Christ. The message is: "I come to You with all my imperfections, as You have commanded. Your Precious Blood was shed for all my sins."
Post-Communion Hymn: "It is well with my soul." The words of this hymn were written by H.G. Spafford. After hearing that his wife had survived a disaster at sea, Spafford had her message framed and hung in his office. Many people were comforted by this message: "It is well; the Will of God be done."
Recessional Hymn: #680 (Saint Anne) "O God, our help in ages past" The hymn tune, "Saint Anne," to which this text is most often sung, was composed by William Croft in 1708 while he was the organist at the Church of Saint Anne, Soho. It was sung at the funeral of Winston Churchill and (it) is the University Anthem of the University of California, at Berkeley, California.