P.O. Box 206 302 South Main Street Gainesboro, Tennessee 38562 (931) 268-4771 Office
Gainesboro First UMC
Monday, July 23, 2018
"A Caring Community of Faith"

Pastor's Desk


Pastor Tim Dunavant, Josh, Staci, and Mikayla


Continuing our theme that I described to you last month, we are going to look at the different traditional hymns of the faith and how they’re trying to direct us in worship to God. 
This month we’re going to look at Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. That is on page 400 in your hymn book. It was written by Robert Robinson in 1758 and set to music and 1813.  This is a song that some people have told me they have a hard time relating to. It just does not resonate with them or stir in them a passion to leap from their seat and to sing with excitement. Yes, it is true that it is written in the old English. But can I translate it for you with the same modern conversational style that I used last month. (The first thing you’re going to need to know is that Jesus is the fountain of every blessing in our lives.)
            “Oh dear Lord, I feel like doing just about anything other than standing around singing songs to you. So come into my heart now and tune it. Make me want to sing of your wonderful love. Help me to recognize that your mercy is flowing into my life like streams into a river. It never stops! Your mercy and goodness continues forever flowing into my life! And that demands that I proclaim your praises at the top of my lungs! Teach me your songs. Teach me the songs the angels are singing around the throne in heaven.
            Yes Lord!!! Now I’m getting it. You are my rock and I praise you. You love me with an unchanging steadfast love that redeems my life and my attitude! Now I’m beginning to remember all The wonderful ways you have loved me throughout my life.
(Ebenezer means stone of remembrance. It is similar to someone picking up a rock and putting it in their pocket to help them remember something that has happened.)
            And now that I remember that, I am reminded that it’s only you that can continue to help me for the rest of my life. So now I’ll look forward to that final act of grace, that day when you carry me into your kingdom. I was running from you God. But you were looking for me. And with your precious sacrifice you saved me! 
            Now every day I am overwhelmed by how much I owe you. And I know I can never repay you. But I pray that this realization of your goodness be like a chain that always keeps me bound to you. Lord I’m constantly getting to that place where my mind is no longer on you. I constantly wander away and start indulging in worrying or doubting or living in anger. But during this time, you have taken my heart and turned it back to your goodness. My last request is that you put a lock on my heart that I could never turn it away from you again.”
            Who can not relate to having a preoccupied mind? Praising God is not natural, we need his help. I pray that we would never sing this aloof or inattentively. Instead we would make it our prayer that during the singing of the song, God would reel us back in to himself so that we might sing the end of the song with the passion we were missing at the beginning. 






            In our congregational services we mostly sing the hymns that were considered popular during the first half of the 20th century. Sometimes we say that we are singing the traditional hymns of the Christian faith but that simply is not true. Christians were worshiping Jesus for 1700, 1800, and in some cases 1900 years before some of our favorite songs were ever even written. No, we are singing the modern hymns. So why do we stick with these and not move forward into even more contemporary choices?


            Unfortunately, it is normally for selfish reasons. We like the songs that remind us of our childhood or of times in the past that we feel are far superior to what we experience in the world today. It is my prayer that we would be aware of this prejudice that is normally subconscious. And that we would make a conscious effort to rediscover these old hymns every time we sing them. Rather than allowing them to remind us of loved ones that are long gone, or favorite days of yesteryear, I pray that we will look deeper and allow them to remind us of the timeless truths that they speak of. Each month we will explore a different hymn here.




O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing. 


This is the very first song that you will find in the Methodist hymnal because, of all of Charles Wesley hymns, this was the anthem. With 17 verses listed in our hymnal, it is one of the longest that we have available. Of course, we usually only sing some of them. Many people tell me that they don’t care for this song but I believe that’s because we don’t know what we’re singing. “ o for 1000 tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and king, the triumphs of his grace!” What does that even mean?


            Next time we sing this song let’s try remembering what we’re actually saying. To translate into more modern and conversational terms “Oh, my deepest desire is to hear thousands of people singing praise to Jesus Christ! To hear everyone in the area, in unison, lifting up their voices together like the symphonies in heaven declaring the glories of God and the victories that his grace has brought to their lives! God, we’re not even capable of the this. So please, we beg of you, help us to do this. Help us to spread honor to your name all over the globe! Jesus, it’s by the power of your name that our fears and our sorrows flee! Your name means everything to us, you are our life, our health, and our peace! Sin has no hold on me! I am free in Jesus’ name! I have been washed by your blood and it has saved me!” 


            And that’s just the first four verses! I ask you to read each verse in the same way. Read it as a poem like it was written and hear the author’s heart. And if that is a sentiment that you can agree with, then forget about your preferences and what you like. Instead, employ your tongue to bring glory to God!