A warm welcome to church today. Sunday School and Youth return from holidays this morning, and Sunday afternoon Youth kicks off today at 4.00 pm. Also please check out Dot’s Mothers’ Day stall at morning tea in the Parish Room.
For yesterday’s Hymn Fest I looked into the life of hymn writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748), who wrote Joy to the World, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Alas and did my Saviour Bleed, O God our help in ages past, and many other hymns still in use today.
Watts’ hymns often emphasise the duty laid on us humans to praise God for creating and redeeming us, and yet our inadequacy for this task. As a result we need the “quickening powers” of the Holy Spirit whom God pours out on his people.
As well as hymns he wrote theological and philosophical essays, a logic textbook, and spiritual songs for children! He had a very good and enquiring mind, which he placed in service of his God and Saviour. With all of his intellectual accomplishments, he was still able to write in one of his hymns:
Where reason fails with all her powers,
There faith prevails, and love adores.
Despite his precocious talents, he was not able to attend university because he was a Dissenter (that is, a Protestant who was not a member of the Church of England). Ironically his Logic was later used as a text at Oxford for 100 years, and he was granted a day in the Anglican calendar!
As with all seemingly all the great Christians of the past, Isaac Watts had his flaws, but has nevertheless been used powerfully by God, to whom all the glory must go. Thanks to everyone who came along to the Hymn Fest, and who helped make it such a great occasion.
In brief, we will have a guest at church next week, Jonathon Campbell, whom I will interview about his work teaching Scripture at Randwick Boys’ High School.