This hymn, written in the years leading up to World War II, looks for the coming of the Day of God not just at the end of time, but in our present day. The text looks beyond current crises to the reign of God, wrought by Jesus’ life and death. So may we look for the light, peace, and beauty of God’s reign to dawn among us. --Donna Wessel Walker
O day of God, draw nigh in beauty and in power;
come with thy timeless judgment now to match our present hour.
Bring to our troubled minds, uncertain and afraid,
the quiet of a steadfast faith, calm of a call obeyed.
Bring justice to our land, that all may dwell secure,
and finely build for days to come foundations that endure.
Bring to our world of strife thy sovereign word of peace,
that war may haunt the earth no more and desolation cease.
O day of God, draw nigh as at creation’s birth;
let there be light again, and set thy judgments in the earth.
- R. B. Y. Scott (1899-1987)
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
1 Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; *
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him, *
and speak of all his marvelous works.
3 Glory in his holy Name; *
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Search for the Lord and his strength; *
continually seek his face.
5 Remember the marvels he has done, *
his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,
6 O offspring of Abraham his servant, *
O children of Jacob his chosen.
7 He is the Lord our God; *
his judgments prevail in all the world.
8 He has always been mindful of his covenant, *
the promise he made for a thousand generations:
9 The covenant he made with Abraham, *
the oath that he swore to Isaac,
10 Which he established as a statute for Jacob, *
an everlasting covenant for Israel,
11 Saying, "To you will I give the land of Canaan *
to be your allotted inheritance."
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
31[Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? Good question. What Jesus has to say about it is perhaps confusing and mystifying to say the least. And that is certainly true about most of our efforts to understand what Jesus is telling us. In this series of metaphors, the Kingdom is described as a tree, yeast, a field, a pearl and a net. What can we see in these descriptions?
We see the Kingdom is an all-encompassing reality which often does its work in multiple and curious ways. It is as the saying goes, “God works in mysterious ways to accomplish God’s purposes.”
The kingdom is a now present future of great promise of benefit to all. It is something so good and desirable that all who see the evidence of its existence will seek it at the expense of everything else.
And yet at the same time it is something which cannot be sought out and found by our most diligent efforts. It is described as something that seeks us out even when we are not looking for it.
It is indeed all of these things at the sometime. It is something so large that we cannot grasp the entirety of its reality. It is also something so small that can be grasped fully by an individual. It is clear cut and it is ambiguous as well. It cannot be described by any single image. Yet Jesus proclaims that it is a destination to be desired above all things.
That it exists and is something we are called to seek is a matter of faith. The multiplicity of images is perhaps Jesus way of making the Kingdom understandable to all people. We all see things in different ways and not all things speak to all of us. One of these images will surely resonate with the person who hears it. That is all it really takes to awaken faith and create the disciples Jesus is calling us to be.
What about if nothing seems to work? Is that line concerning Judgement causing concern? Perhaps it does. The comfort in that line is that we are not called to be the source of judgement. After all just as the parables before this have indicated and which the Gospels lead us to understand, Jesus is the judge and Jesus is a friend of ours. Be at peace, the Kingdom is at hand and is yours.