Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, January 14, 2019

Did You See That?


Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we joined many other congregations who had to stay at home because of the snow event. Such an event reminds me of a post I saw on Facebook that said; “Sometimes when we make plans, God laughs out loud.” A snow related sermon was posted on our web page (here).

This week, weather permitting, we hope to take a look at John 2:1-11, a passage which records for us the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine. As you read through the account you become aware that a lot of the people present at the wedding feast missed out on the fact that any miracle had taken place. All they knew was that for some reason the host had saved the best till last. We can so easily miss out on what God is doing around our lives. Miracles can happen and we miss them.

Sometimes we sing a hymn or hear a piece of music and we may think ‘Well that’s nice."  But so often there is a story behind a song that can take our appreciation to a new level. Consider a hymn such as Frances Ridley Havergal’s "Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee." Follow this link to a version by Brian Doerksen.

Frances Havergal was the daughter of a rector in Worcester, England… who was in his day one of the finest church musicians around. She, like her father, was exceptionally gifted but prone to periods of doubt and depression. Though constantly in a religious atmosphere she struggled for many years to accept herself as a child of God. It took a real act of surrender for her to allow Christ to take His rightful place in her life. Having struggled personally to break through into a living faith she was anxious to share her journey with others.

The hymn "Take my Life" came out of an experience that she had staying with a family where religion was on the back boiler. Aware of her hosts low spiritual expectations, when she arrived she prayed "Lord, give me all in this house." Over a period of five days she led every member of the household into a deeper faith, with the exception of two daughters.

Retiring to her bed on the last night she was awoken by the governess who told her the daughters were in great distress. She counseled them and led them to faith in Christ. When she returned to her room she was too excited to sleep. She records in her diary "I passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another …"

She speaks elsewhere in her diaries of how writing, for her, was praying. Rather like she had, as a child, asked her Father when composing a poem, "What do you think I should say next?" so her hymns came out of her relationship with God who gave her, in her own words; ‘Not merely thoughts and power, but also every word, even the very rhymes. Very often I have a most distinct and happy consciousness of direct answers."

It’s easy to sing a hymn with the mindset of those who saw no miracle at the wedding feast when Jesus turned water into wine. It is only human to think… well that’s a nice tune or pleasant little rhyme… without realizing that behind the words are often some wonderful stories of the grace and love of God. 

As we go through our lives it is easy to take so much for granted and miss out on daily miracles taking place all around us. It is the work of God to take the common place and make it into a special place of blessing and wonder. Keep the eyes of your heart open because you don’t want to miss a thing!

Prayer: "Lord forgive me for my low expectations. Help me to be awake to the daily miracles all around my life. Amen"

The Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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