Good Friday Poem: “Christ Crucified” – J.De Decker

3crossesFor this Good Friday I also want to post something from a collection of poems with that very title (Good Friday) from the pen of 17th-century Dutch poet Jeremias De Decker (1609-1666). This lengthy set of poems was translated by Calvin College professor Henrietta Ten Harmsel (Dutch title of Goede vrydagh) and published by Paideia Press in 1984. It is enhanced by etchings from Rembrandt, De Decker’s contemporary, who also did his personal portrait.

Since this work may not be so well known, I include here also the opening paragraphs of Ten Harmsel’s introduction, where she summaries the structure of Good Friday and includes a few biographical notes:

Many seventeenth-century poets of wetsern Europe wrote moving poems on the suffering and death of Christ. Most of these poems took the form of short lyrics. Good Friday, by Jeremias De Decker, however, is unique because of its lengthy and detailed treatment of all the events of the Passion week. In nine vivid scenes he presents chronologically the unfolding drama that climaxes in the crucifixion. By his mournful viewing of his Savior’s suffering, the poet draws his reader into contemplating Calvary. And in this contemplation two consistent notes emerge: De Decker’s intimate knowledge of the Bible and its teachings, and his intense personal involvement in Christ’s sufferings as he depicts it in Good Friday.

Jeremias De Decker (1609-1666), a member of the Reformed Church of Holland, spent most of his life in Amsterdam. Although he desired little public recognition and was very diffident about publication, his two volumes of collected poems – published in 1656 and again in 1659, and including Good Friday – received general recognition and continuing enthusiastic praise (p.9).

GoodFriday-JDeDeckerFor our purposes today I am going to quote a small section of De Decker’s seventh scene, titled “Christ Crucified”, since this takes us right to Calvary, to contemplate the mystery of God’s Son in our flesh dying for us sinners. I trust you too will notice in these few lines the two things that Ten Harmsel pointed out about the nature of De Decker’s poem.

‘Well, what is this?’ (you cry). ‘What is this that we see?
Why should the heavens cry?
Why should they take away
The brightness of the sun just at the height of day?’

The heavens, you rogues, now mourn to see their Lord’s distress;
Shamed by your ruthlessness,
Block out this awful sight:
To see him die, who is the Father of their light.

The clouds which hide the sun from all earth’s teeming crowds
Are your sin’s darkening clouds.
I hear him? Yes, he shouts.
What anguished cry of death now from these clouds bursts out?

Ah, me, it is my Lord! He suffers now his worst.
From hell we hear it burst-
The devils watch in glee-
‘My God, my God, oh, why hast thou forsaken me?’

It is the voice of man, the voice of all who fell
Into the pit of hell;
As one we broke God’s law,
And thus, in one, in him, we are forsaken now.

God’s loved one hangs today (Oh, pain too deep for words)
Forsaken by God’s love,
That he once more might send
God’s friendly love on us, who hated God, our Friend!

As an additional note, this work by De Decker was reviewed in The Standard Bearer by the late Gertrude Hoeksema and given a favorable review.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (1)

JesusKeepMeNear-NGuthrieFor the Sundays leading up to Good Friday and Easter we plan to do a series of meditations centered on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. For my own devotional reading during this time of reflection I recently purchased the little book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, a wonderful collection of sermons and writings edited by Nancy Guthrie (Crossway, 2009). I plan to use this book as a guide, pulling quotations from it.

This is how the author introduces this collection:

In the pages that follow, gifted theologians and Bible teachers will help us to stop and longer at the cross. I’ve drawn from the writings and sermons of classic and contemporary writers and teachers to create meditations that will draw us into an experience of the passion of the cross and the power of the resurrection.

How we need to have our hearts broken again by our sin that put Jesus on the cross. How we need to have our confidence grounded by what Jesus accomplished on the cross. And how we need to have our hope anchored in the promise of resurrection. I pray that is what you will experience as you read this book. May Jesus draw you and keep you near his cross (“Preface”, p.10).

MLuther-preaching-1The first meditation Guthrie has in her book is an excerpt from a sermon of Martin Luther titled “True Contemplation of the Cross”. From this I pull a few paragraphs today.

Let us meditate a moment on the passion of Christ. Some do so falsely in that they merely rail against Judas and the Jews. Some carry crucifixes to protect themselves from water, fire, and sword, and turn the suffering of Jesus into an amulet against suffering. Some weep, and that is the end of it. The true contemplation is that in which the heart is crushed and the conscience smitten. You must be overwhelmed by the frightful wrath of God who so hated sin that he spared not his only begotten Son. What can the sinner expect if the beloved Son was so afflicted? It must be an inexpressible and unendurable yearning that causes God’s Son Himself so to suffer. Ponder this and you will tremble, and the more you ponder, the deeper you will tremble.

The whole value of the meditation of the suffering of Christ lies in this, that man should come to the knowledge of himself and sink and tremble. If you are so hardened that you do not tremble, then you have reason to tremble. Pray to God that he may soften your heart and make fruitful your meditation upon the suffering of Christ, for we of ourselves are incapable of proper reflection unless God instills its.

…The greater and more wonderful is the excellence of his love by contrast with the lowliness of his form, the hate and pain of passion. Herein we come to know both God and ourselves. His beauty is his own, and through it we learn to know him. His uncomeliness and passion are ours, and in them we know ourselves, for what he suffered in the flesh, we must inwardly suffer in the spirit. He has in truth borne our stripes. Here, then, in an unspeakably clear mirror you see yourself. You must know that through your sins you are as uncomely and mangled as you see him here (pp.11-14).

Also for our meditation I include this beautiful poem written by Thelma Westra, a member of our Faith PRC (Jenison, MI), found in the collection of her poetry titled Poems of Praise (self-published). This one is titled “He Who Was Sinless” (p.131):

‘He Who was sinless was made sin for us:’
Turning depravity into salvation
For sinners deserving only damnation.
Who but Jehovah could plan such a thing?
Jehovah of hosts, the conquering King.
It pleased Him to sacrifice His only Son
Because of His love for the wholly undone;
He loved us and changed us by mercy and grace
Into sanctified children – His chosen race.
We now glorify Him, exalting His name,
And into eternity, still will proclaim
The wonder He wrought, and the joy that He brought:
With the blood of His Son, His people He bought!
‘He Who was sinless was made sin for us!’

 

Christmas Hymn – Thelma Westra

PoemsofPraise-TWestraAs we enter the week of Christmas and commemorate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we begin some posts related directly to this wonder of God’s love and grace. First, from her collection of Christian poetry Poems of Praise (self-published) comes this one titled “Christmas Hymn” (p.26) by Thelma Westra , a fellow church member at Faith PRC.

 

 

Christmas is the time to sing
Praises to our heavenly King.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
Whom the saints and angels laud,
He was born in human frame;
At the time appointed came.
Shepherds in the fields that night
Were assured by angel bright
That no fearful time was this,
But a moment of great bliss.

Hist’ry’s focal time was here,
God in flesh did now appear;
He – that babe in manger’s bed -
Was in truth the church’s Head;
He the sacrifice would be
On the cross of Calvary.
So we celebrate this day:
May we sing and may we pray,
With uplifted hearts may raise
To our God a hymn of praise.

Sunday Worship Preparation: Psalm 119t (Resh)

Psalm119tFor our worship preparation this Lord’s Day we consider the next section (the twentieth) of Psalm 119, which consists of verses 153-160. This stanza in the psalmist’s love-song on the Law-Giver and His law is headed by the transliterated Hebrew word “Resh”, since the eight lines in this section all begin with this Hebrew letter (comparable to our “r”). As we meditate on this part of Psalm 119, may we consciously apply these words to our worship of our Triune God and Father this day. Here is the Word of God which we love in this place:

RESH.

153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments.

157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.

158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.

160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

What we notice at the outset here is that the psalmist’s suffering and persecution are on the foreground. He speaks of “his affliction” (misery, poverty), which we know at this point from the rest of the psalm is the pain of being pressed by wicked law-breakers, especially because he is a law-keeper (vss.153, 157, 159). Notice how in v.157 he states that these wicked persecutors and enemies are “many”! Not merely a handful were opposing him in his Christian life, but many were opposing him and seeking to bring him down. Many were trying to lead him out of his love and liberty of God’s law into the bondage of sin and enmity against God.

Do we also feel that pressure of the unbelieving world about us? Do we bear the reproach of Christ because we are law-abiding citizens in God’s kingdom?

But by the power of God’s grace he was resisting and holding firm to God and His way of life. The love of God for him was his strength in abiding in love for God and His Word. He had not forgotten God’s law (v.153). He had not declined from His testimonies (v.157). He knows how true and righteous God’s law is (v.160). God’s Word is reliable and faithful, and he has depended on it for all his needs. He even asks God to “consider” (see, perceive, inspect) his love for His precepts. And by the power of this divine love the psalmist even expressed love for his enemies (out of supreme love for God!). Note vss.155 and 158: as he beheld these transgressors, he realized that salvation was far from them because they did not seek God’s statutes; he was grieved deeply because they did not keep God’s Word. He had pity on them – and no doubt prayed for them!

Do we have the same attitude toward our enemies and God’s? Or do we simply turn our backs on them? That is easy to do, but it is not the way of love for God or our neighbor. Their rebellion and reproach should turn into our pity and prayers.

Finally. notice once again too the psalmist’s earnest prayers to the Lord. I count eight (8) petitions in these eight verses. That reveals that while he was committed to God and His way, he was also deeply conscious of the difficulty of that way. He knew well the power of the enemy and the weakness of his own flesh.Though faithful, he dared not trust himself.  Besides, he also knew the Lord’s tender mercies to him in Christ (v.156). And so he casts himself on the Lord. “Consider mine affliction, and deliver me! Plead my cause (as my defense Lawyer), and deliver me!” And three times he prays for quickening (making alive, renewal). Why that request so often? Because he knew the deadness of his sinful nature and sensed his spiritual life waning under the pressure of persecution. He needed and wanted the revival of his new life in Christ. “Quicken me!”

Are these also our petitions? Are we keenly aware of our own insufficiency to stand in this battle against law-breaking and for law-keeping? Or have we become too self-confident, too casual, too careless in the battle? Then we are destined to cave in to the wicked’s pressure. Then we will collapse spiritually and fail to love God and His Word as we ought. But let us realize the strength of the foe, the weakness of ourselves – and the God of our salvation – and pray to Him for grace to withstand and to stand! Then the psalmist’s testimony will be ours.

Psalter1912If you wish to reflect on the wisdom of this Word of God through music, you are encouraged to make use of our Psalter and this versification of this 20th stanza of Psalm 119. Here are the lyrics; you will find the piano accompaniment at the link provided.

1. Regard my grief and rescue me,
For I do not forget Thy laws;
As Thou hast promised, save me, Lord;
Redeem my soul, and plead my cause.

2. Far is salvation from the men
Who do not seek Thy statutes, Lord;
Great are Thy mercies, quicken me
According to Thy holy word.

3. I bear the spite of many foes,
Yet from Thy law I do not swerve;
I saw the faithless and was grieved,
For they Thy word do not observe.

4. Behold how I Thy precepts love!
In kindness, Lord, revive Thou me;
The sum of all Thy word is truth,
Thy word abides eternally.

“Untouched” (a poem based on Q&A 1 of the HC) – Sue Looyenga

HC-Q&A 1-GermanTime it is to feature another poem based on the Heidelberg Catechism, especially Q&A 1. The one I post today is extra special, because it was penned by my sister Sue, a wonderful poet in her own right. She has penned beautiful poems for all kinds of occasions. I am not sure what the occasion was for this poem (I suppose I could ask her!), but I found it, I believe, in The Standard Bearer. It is an older one, dated 1979, but its message is as timely now as it was 24 years ago. In the two stanzas she contrasts the “comforts” of the world with the one, true comfort of the Christian. May her words, based on the Word, speak peace to your hearts today.

“Untouched”

by Sue Looyenga (1979)

The nations tremble and are shaken

As rulers overthrow and then are overthrown.

And lust runs rampant through the streets; no shame

Does halt the sin to which man’s evil heart is prone.

The rich man hoards his gold; the poor cry out for bread,

And hearts are turned to stone. None cares to part

With bread lest he be found without tomorrow.

They speak of death and dread disease with terror in their heart,

And live for pleasures’ sake, lest on the morrow they be taken.

They grasp for comforts, but in vain; they all have slipped away

To leave them with empty, wringing hands.

There is no peace, no comfort for them in this evil day.

*******************************************************

O blessed comfort, only comfort! I belong to Him

Who fully satisfied for all my sins at Calvary.

Though all the world be shaken, I have His promise sure,

All things now and to come shall work for good to me

And nothing that befalls can sever me from Him.

He turns all things to work for my salvation,

Assures me of eternal life forevermore.

He is my only Hope and Strength and Consolation!

I need not take a thought about tomorrow,

For by His grace His Own shall persevere.

Though times may change and change again, He is the same

Each day, each month and every passing year.

“Paul Revere’s Ride” – Henry W. Longfellow

Paul Revere’s Ride- Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More.

PaulRevereRideFor this Fourth of July holiday in the U.S., as we commemorate the 237th anniversary of our country’s independence, I thought it would be fitting to post this famous poem of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. For sake of space I only post the first two and the last two stanzas. To find the full poem, visit the poets.org site link above. Or for a dramatic reading of this poem, visit this YouTube link.

Paul Revere’s Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

…You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

You know the rest. In the books you have read, How the British Regulars fired and fled,– How the farmers gave them ball for ball, From behind each fence and farmyard-wall, Chasing the red-coats down the lane, Then crossing the fields to emerge again Under the trees at the turn of the road, And only pausing to fire and load. So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm,– A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo forevermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640#sthash.6CX95KSB.dpuf
You know the rest. In the books you have read, How the British Regulars fired and fled,– How the farmers gave them ball for ball, From behind each fence and farmyard-wall, Chasing the red-coats down the lane, Then crossing the fields to emerge again Under the trees at the turn of the road, And only pausing to fire and load. So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm,– A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo forevermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640#sthash.ZyzOX0sd.dpuf

Paul Revere’s Ride

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640#sthash.plSQP5aW.dpuf

Paul Revere’s Ride

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640#sthash.plSQP5aW.dpuf

Poems of Praise – Thelma Westra

PoemsofPraise-TWestraThis being National Poetry Month, it is only appropriate that we feature a collection of poems written by a very special woman from our home church, Mrs. Thelma Westra. Thelma is a wonderful Christian lady (now widowed) who has been given the gift of poetry and has used it to pen “poems of praise” for many years. Often these occur in our monthly church newsletter; they have also been published in The Standard Bearer and school newsletters over the years.

But this past Monday I also learned that they had been put together into a book titled Poems of Praise. Today I thought I would feature a couple of these beautiful poems that throughout call us to praise the Lord for Who He is and for all His works and ways. They are solidly Biblical and Reformed and good food for the soul.

I wish I knew if this collection were available in stores. I suspect it may be available from the author. I will get more information on this and add it to this post at a later time. In the meantime, here are a couple.

Sing Praise

Lift up your voice to praise the Lord;
His name alone must be adored;
He showers blessings day by day
And leads us in His chosen way.
Let songs of praise fill heart and tongue;
Revere His name, both old and young.

He is the mighty King of kings
Whose arm to us salvation brings;
Though trials threaten, He will guide,
We’re not alone – He’s by our side,
His tender mercy to us shows;
He all our cares and sorrows knows.

Sing praise; He is the Lord of all,
Let us, His children, prostrate fall.
O come, His holiness proclaim
And magnify His holy name.
With adoration bend the knee;
Exalt His name eternally.

And a special one for Spring:

The Winter is Past

The frozen turf is softened by the sun
And gentle rains descend;
A lighter, warmer breeze has now begun
To signal winter’s end.

The snowdrop and the crocus start to poke
Green sprouts above the earth;
The fine mist vanishes like wispy smoke -
The world speaks of rebirth.

I praise the Lord for beauty of the spring
When hope is born anew.
He makes my very soul with rapture sing,
His light is breaking through.

As He renews creation all around,
His awesome power is shown;
My life is also quickened to abound
With praise to God alone.

National Poetry Month – Poets.org

National Poetry Month- Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More.

NatlPoetryMonth-2013April is National Poetry Month and today I thought I would reintroduce you to the great website of the American Academy of Poets, where you will find poems of all kinds for people of all kinds. Here you can search for specific poets and poems or for specific subjects, and sign up for the “poem-a-day” feature. And, because the website is devoted to many classic English and American poets, you will also find great poems by Christian poets.

This is how the AAP introduces this special month:

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

We would be remiss if we did not feature a special poem today. Because we have entered the Spring season, and because my daffodils are pushing their way upward, we will reference this English classic by William Wordsworth (1770-1850):

The Daffodils
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Published in: on April 10, 2013 at 6:11 AM  Leave a Comment  

Good Friday 2013 – Selected Poems by A.Toplady and W.Cowper

Today the church of Christ commemorates the death of her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. There are many ways one can commemorate this historic and salvific event of Calvary. Many will gather for worship today or tonight. Some will attend the afternoon service at Seventh Reformed Church here in Grand Rapids, where for years now the seven words of Jesus spoken from the cross are reflected on by various Reformed ministers, including Protestant Reformed ones. Others may commemorate the event privately by reading the Word of God, praying, and singing.

Certainly another profitable activity is to read edifying the writings of Christian poets, and two of my favorites are Augustus Toplady and William Cowper. On this Good Friday 2013 I post a poem from each of these men, trusting that they will be profitable to you as you remember and reflect on Christ’s death.

A.Toplady Hymn XIV. Thanksgiving for the Sufferings of Christ

1 O Thou who didst thy glory leave,
Apostate sinners to retrieve,
From nature’s deadly fell;
Me thou hast purchas’d with a price,
Nor shall my crimes in judgment rise,
For thou hast borne them all.

2 Jesus was punish’d in my stead,
Without the gate my surety bled,
To expiate my stain;
On earth the Godhead deign’d to dwell,
And made of infinite avail,
The suff’rings of the man.

3 And was he for his rebels giv’n?
He was: th’ incarnate King of hev’n
Did for his foes expire;
Amaz’d, O earth, the tidings hear;
He bore, that we might never bear,
His Father’s righteous ire.

4 Ye saints, the man of sorrows bless,
The God for your unrighteousness,
Deputed to atone:
Praise him ’till with the heav’nly throng,
Ye sing the never-ending song,
And see him on his throne.

Hymns and Poems, Augustus M. Toplady (Cross Publishing, 1971)

William Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott.jpgW.Cowper, Olney Hymns, XV. Praise for the Fountain Opened (Zech.xiii 1)

There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, as vile as he,
Wash’d all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save;
When this poor lisping stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared
(Unworthy though I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!
‘Tis strung and tuned for endless years,
And form’d by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name but Thine.

A Smorgasbord of Heidelberg Catechism Items! – 450th Anniversary Series(9)

HeidCatPic1As we continue our year-long series commemorating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563-2013), our post today is going to be a smorgasbord of items. In the last week some other things connected to the “HC” and its 450th anniversary have come to mind and to my attention, and I want to get the notice of these things out there (before they leave my mind or I lose my mind!).

First, I call your attention to a new website that has been created to advertise the Protestant Reformed Seminary’s upcoming conference on the 450th anniversary of the “HC” – “Our Only Comfort”. This conference is scheduled for Oct.17-19 this Fall, and Hudsonville PRC was asked to host and to help organize and promote this event. Plans are well under way, and this website will be the “go to” place for information on this important conference. Be sure to check it out, bookmark it, and return to it often, as new material will be added frequently (It includes a blog as well!).

Secondly, I want to note that prior to the meeting of the PRC Classis West next Tuesday in Lynden, WA there will be an Officebearer’s Conference on the Heidelberg Catechism. If you are in that area, you will want to attend this significant conference as well. More information on that may be found on this page of the PRC website. I trust that the speeches will be recorded, so I will be sure to link to those when they become available.

Thirdly, were you aware that daily meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism may be found on the website of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, our sister church in Singapore? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know – now you do! Written by PRC pastors, these meditations are another great way to grow in the Reformed faith and in your love of the “HC”. Be sure to visit this page and make use of these in your personal devotions this year!

The fourth item on our smorgasbord table today is another reference to the URC Psalmody site (blog) of Michael Kearney, who is doing a year-long series connecting the Heidelberg Catechism, the Psalms, and Psalm-singing on Wednesdays this year. Yesterday he posted on the beautiful 9th Lord’s Day of the catechism (on the Fatherhood of God), and included a link to a YouTube video of Covenant Christian High (Grand Rapids, MI) singing a medley of two psalms related to the truths in this Lord’s Day. You will want to follow this blog as well and appreciate the beautiful harmony between the personal character of the “HC” and the personal character of the Psalms.

And, finally, in the last month I found another Thrift store treasure (but a brand new book!) – a collection of poems written by a local woman named Nancy Moelker and published under the title In God’s Arms: Inspirational Poems for the Christian Soul (Golden Apple Greetings, 2012). In her collection is a poem on Lord’s Day 1 of the “HC” – “My Only Comfort”. Today I also post this for our spiritual profit:

My only comfort in life and in death,
Through all of my days and at my final breath,
Is that I belong, both in body and soul,
To my faithful Savior – this I know!

With His precious blood He has cleansed me from sin
And freed me from Satan’s power within.
He preserves and keeps me in all of my ways,
Leading and guiding through all of my days.

Not a hair can fall from my head, I know,
Without my Father willing it so.
God works everything, whether good or ill,
For my salvation by His sovereign will.

And the Spirit assures me that beyond this world’s strife,
Belonging to Jesus, I have eternal life.
And henceforth, wholeheartedly, by His power within,
I’m ready and willing to live unto Him.

(Nancy then also quotes three Bible passages: Romans 14:8, 1 Peter 1:18,19, and Romans 8:16. If you are interested in obtaining this fine book of poetry, you may get in touch with Nancy at ncyezmoelker@gmail.com.) *P.S. I corrected this email address recently after discovering that I missed the important letter “z”! My apologies!

That’s it for today! Enjoy exploring these items on the “HC”!

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