This coming Sunday is my last as a parish minister with my own congregation to lead in worship. My text is going to be a favourite passage from my favourite book I Peter 1:17-21. I want my last sermon before retirement to be one which affirms my congregation in their faith and points them to the salvation which is in Christ alone.
The hymns are more problematical. After leading more than 3,000 services of worship I am going to be selfish. I have always taken great care to choose the most suitable hymn for any particular part of the service, the right words married to the right tune for that point and all controlled by the theme of the text. For once I am just going to chose some of my favourite hymns.
Psalm 100 All people that on earth do dwell. The neglect of psalms in the CofS
diminishes our worship and this psalm married to the stately Old Hundredth is a magnificent affirmation of God’s majesty and character and our pleasure in
Seek ye first the kingdom of God The only real problem. Following the children’s address I want one they will be able to sing. Seek ye first seems the least objectionable of suitable hymns, at least it uses the words of Scripture. If you have any better ideas let me know.
And can it be that I should gain This is the first hymn which had a real impact on me following my conversion. It seemed to express the wonder I felt that God should actually care for me, a sense of wonder I retain and never want to lose. Beside that, my wife used to be a Methodist and it was written by Charles
King of glory, King of peace This is a beautiful hymn of devotion by my favourite hymn writer George Herbert.
Thine be the glory It was difficult to choose a last hymn. It has to be something strong, confident and above all Christ centred. For me it is this Easter hymn sung to Handel’s magnificent Maccabaeus, two birds with one stone.
That’s my choice. What would you choose?