Posted by: rcottrill | January 8, 2018

Jesus Calls Us

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Words: Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander (b. April ___, 1818; d. Oct. 12, 1895)
Music: Galilee (or Jude), by William Herbert Jude (b. September ___, 1851; d. Aug. 8, 1922)

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Though we usually think of Cecil as a man’s name, Cecil Frances Alexander was a woman. The wife of a prominent Irish clergyman, she was also a hymn writer of note, giving us such songs as All Things Bright and Beautiful, and There Is a Green Hill Far Away.

Mrs. Alexander’s church followed the liturgical calendar, in which November 30th is St. Andrew’s Day, and in 1852 she wrote a hymn inspired by the Lord’s call to discipleship of Andrew and his brother Peter. “He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matt. 4:18-19). The stanza speaking of “Saint Andrew” is sometimes omitted today, to make the hymn more widely useful. Other hymnals replace the words “Saint Andrew” with “the Apostles.”

The telephone has now been around for about one hundred and forty years. Building on the work of others before him, Scottish-Canadian Alexander Graham Bell invented the first practical model in 1876. Later, American inventor Thomas Edison made significant improvements.

The appearance of these instruments has changed radically over the years. The earliest oddly shaped devices might not even be recognized as such today. Later, the telephone was housed in a rather large wooden box fastened to the wall. Then, wall models grew smaller, and table models appeared. The early callers turned a crank to initiate a call. But a numbered rotary dial followed, and held the field for many years.

A new era was launched in 1973, when cordless phones came along. These were replaced by much smaller smart phones, with the iPhone (in 2007) quickly becoming popular. A mechanical dial has now given way to a touch screen. There are newer models all the time, having more features and increasing space for data. Now that phones are small and portable, almost everyone has one in pocket or purse, and public phone booths are a rarity.

The telephone has also developed its own vocabulary over time, new terms to identify new features and functions: call display, call waiting, call blocking, and conference calls. Inventor Bell said that one who answered a call should say, “Ahoy!” an old sailors’ greeting. But it was Edison who popularized our now common “Hello.”

When we speak of making a phone “call” we mean we’re issuing a summons to talk with someone. The summons may be for friendly conversation, or to conduct business of some kind, or to ask for help from the one at the other end of the line (e.g. a 911 call).

In the Bible, some form of the word “call” is used more than eight hundred times. Relevant to the hymn we’ll consider now is Christ’s call to discipleship.

“He saw…James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matt. 4:21-22).

Notice that in following Christ, something else was left behind. Not that they had to forsake something sinful or disreputable. They were fishermen, working at a good and useful trade. But becoming a follower of Christ called for a reordering of their priorities. The disciples were what we could call learner-servants. They entered into training, both to learn from Christ and to engage in serving Him. After He returned to heaven, about three years later, they would become His representatives on earth, calling others to follow Him (Matt. 28:18-20).

The point of Alexander’s hymn is that we too are called to be learner-servants, with new priorities to define our lives.

CH-1) Jesus calls us o’er the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless, sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow Me!”

CH-2) As of old Saint Andrew heard it
By the Galilean lake,
Turned from home and toil and kindred,
Leaving all for Jesus’ sake.

CH-3) Jesus calls us from the worship
Of the vain world’s golden store,
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, “Christian, love Me more!”

CH-5) Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,
Saviour, may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thine obedience,
Serve and love Thee best of all.

1) Since the Lord does not (usually, at least) communicate with us in an audible voice, how can we determine whether God is truly calling us to do a particular thing?

2) Does a clear lack of good results definitely prove a person was not called of God to do what he/she did? (Explain why.)

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

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