Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

 

(Date: 4 Nov 2012)    “Saints singing songs”        Isaiah 25:6-9, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44

On Sunday our Gathering Song was “I sing a song of the saints of God”. It ended with these words:

The world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus’ will.

You can meet them in school, or In lanes, or at sea,
In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,
For the saints of God are just folk like me,
And I mean to be one too..

Then we tried to think about what it meant to “mean to be a saint”. The church teaches that we are enrolled as God’s saints (set-apart ones, consecrated to His service) when at baptism “I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” (BCP Catechism, p 544).

  1. Think about or discuss briefly what those terms mean: what ode sit mean to be a member of Christ, a child of God and an inheritor of heaven? What difference does that make in the way you live and see your life?

_____________________________________________________________________

Leader’s Guide:

The three scriptures for today are all about Jesus and His work but they are also all about that work in us.

They do talk about what God does but they also reveal what we can and need to do, if we want to be fully used by God as part of His work on earth: if we want to sing His song (our song) with the lives He has given us.

  1. Isaiah’s prophecy of God’s intention to be accomplished in Christ: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, so that he might save us. (God saves us and we are called to actively wait on His salvation, trusting we haven’t been forgotten: discuss what active waiting feels like|).
  2. Revelation of what God is doing right now in Christ: See, I am making all things new. (God is in the process of remaking the whole of creation and us too! His work is ongoing. Our work is to be open to His work in our lives, and in the lives of the people around us, through interaction with us: discuss what allowing God to remake us looks like in your life).
  3. Jesus Christ in John’s Gospel: Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? Jesus will show us the glory of God (He raised Lazarus, was raised Himself, will raise us from death one day, raises us from every kind of death and fear and obstacle in life right now). What God does and what the saints do…we are called to look and notice and see what God is up to. Discuss how we can watch for His glory being revealed around us. ______________________________________________________________________
  4. Only you can sing the song God has given you to sing: it may need some adjustments to the busy schedule of your life but you can (easily) do it!

Are you willing to actively wait on God, as Isaiah calls us to?

Are you willing to allow Jesus to do a make-over on your life? To make you new?

Are you willing to see the glory of God in your life, and do you believe that is possible, or was Jesus just joking or exaggerating when He said that?

You may not think you have much to work with but all you need to sing your song of a saint of God is your life and your will and to accept your calling from God to step up and sing. And you and I have all three of those necessary ingredients. It may take a few adjustments to turn your face and open your days and moments to God, to allow Him to show you the opportunities you already have for kingdom life but it is worth the effort to make those adjustments, if you and I really want to sing that song!

______________________________________________________________________

Leader’s Guide:

The Bible is full of songs of the saints of God! In perhaps the oldest part of the Bible, Moses and Miriam and the Israelites sang a great song of God’s triumph when they had safely crossed the Red Sea. It is a recurring theme in the prophecy of Isaiah, in the Psalms, and elsewhere in the Old Testament. In the vision recounted in Revelation it is described how the company of heaven will sing a new song in honour of the Lamb, and on another occasion how they will sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, of the old covenant and the new. In these visions, we catch a glimpse of the glory of heaven, and the triumph of those who have proclaimed that glory by their lives on earth. Thus, ‘singing the song‘ becomes a reminder of our hope that we too might follow their example, and proclaim the love of God to the world.

__________________________________________________________________

We are traveling in the footsteps
Of those who’ve gone before,
But we’ll all be reunited (but if we stand reunited)
On a new and sunlit shore (then a new world is in store).

Oh when the saints go marching in,
When the saints go marching in:
Oh Lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in!

(Lyrics by Bill Black)

Advertisements