• ReadTraces of Grace
    Jan 26, 2023

    Thoughts from Pastor Scott

    Christ the Lord is Risen Today


    Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! 

    Son of me and angels say, Alleluia! 

    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! 

    Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! 


    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! 

    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! 

    Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! 

    Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia! 


    Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! 

    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! 

    Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! 

    Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! 


    Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! 

    Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! 

    Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! 

    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!


    Probably one of Charles Wesley best known hymns, even if people don't realize he was the author, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" is an Easter favorite. And while the refrain of "Alleluia" at the end of each line wasn't original to the poem Charles wrote, I think it serves to punctuate and highlight each line before moving on to the next.


    The theme throughout the hymn is a focus on the work of Christ in his death, resurrection, and ascension as the only proper foundation for our salvation. It is only because of Christ that the curse is broken and new life is possible. This becomes even more clear if we take time to read all 11 original verses (which can be found as part of this post).


    One of my favorite lines in the hymn is found in what is normally the fourth and final verse in most hymnals, "Made like him, like him we rise." And I love it because it speaks, after extolling all that Christ accomplished, to what is intended for us and the glory that awaits us; "Made like him, like him we rise." That is the promise of the gospel for us today; we can be made like Christ and ultimately rise with Christ.


    Grace & Peace,

    -Pastor Scott


    P.S. I had someone ask me about the 5 aspects of grace that I spoke about on Sunday, so here they are in brief:

    • Preventing Grace: The grace given to all that allows us to respond to God before we come to faith.
    • Convicting Grace: The grace that makes us aware of our sin and leads us to repentance.
    • Justifying Grace: The grace that comes to us following our repentance and submitting to Christ which makes us right with God.
    • Sanctifying Grace: The grace that begins at justification when we are born again and that works to make us more and more holy as God is holy.
    • Glorifying Grace: The grace that will come to those who are in Christ at the end of our earthly life and which makes us ready for heaven.

    If you want to learn more, here's a youtube playlist of short (5-10 minute) videos on the way of salvation and the aspects of grace.

    1. ReadTraces of Grace
      Jan 19, 2023

      Thoughts from Pastor Scott

      God of All Power, and Truth, and Grace


      God of all power, and truth, and grace,

      which shall from age to age endure,

      whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass,

      remains and stands for ever sure.


      That I your mercy may proclaim,

      that all the world your truth may see,

      hallow your great and glorious name,

      and perfect holiness in me.


      Purge me from every evil blot;

      my idols all be cast aside:

      cleanse me from every sinful thought,

      from all the filth of self and pride.


      Give me a new, a perfect heart,

      from doubt and fear and sorrow free;

      the mind which was in Christ impart,

      and let my spirit cleave to thee.


      O that I now, from sin released,

      thy word may to the utmost prove,

      enter into the promised rest,

      the Canaan of your perfect love!


      “God of All Power, and Truth, and Grace” was first published under the title “The Promise of Sanctification” in a pamphlet at the end of John Wesley’s sermon Christian Perfection,” which I read in preparation for last week’s sermon, Perfect in love.” The verses above are what was printed in the Methodist Hymnal, but the full text (all 28 verses!) of the poem can be found here.


      I love how we hear some of the same themes and concepts we spoke about last Sunday, but summarized in lyrical form: 

      • The starting point of believing God’s word to us is true and can be trusted.
      • That our holiness is all the work of God’s grace in our lives forming us into the image of Christ for the sake of the world.
      • That God is able to cleanse our hearts and shift the orientation of our hearts away from sin, self, and idols and to Him.
      • The new heart which comes when we are born again and become new creations and is capable of receiving the mind of Christ.
      • How we can rest, when we are freed from the power of sin, in God’s perfect love shed abroad in our hearts.


      I encourage you to take time to read through the whole of the poem, maybe a few times, so you can begin to see the logical progression from beginning to end that Charles believed made possible this kind of holy life.


      Grace & Peace,

      -Pastor Scott

      1. Jan
        15
        Sunday, January 15th  •  11:45 am – 12:15 pm (EST)
        First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
        201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
        1. Jan
          22
          Sunday, January 22nd  •  6–8 pm (EST)
          Every Sunday
          First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
          201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
          1. Jan
            27
            All day  •  Friday, January 27th – Sunday, January 29th (EST)
            First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
            201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
            1. Feb
              4
              Saturday, February 4th  •  10:15–11:15 am (EST)
              Every Saturday
              First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
              201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
              1. Feb
                4
                Saturday, February 4th  •  9–10 am (EST)
                Every Saturday
                First United Methodist Church of Collingswood
                201 Dayton Ave, Collingswood, NJ, 08108
                1. ReadTraces of Grace
                  Jan 12, 2023

                  Thoughts from Pastor Scott

                  Arise, my soul, arise;

                  Shake off thy guilty fears;

                  The bleeding sacrifice

                  In my behalf appears:

                  Before the throne my surety stands,

                  Before the throne my surety stands,

                  My name is written on His hands.


                  He ever lives above,

                  For me to intercede;

                  His all-redeeming love,

                  His precious blood, to plead:

                  His blood atoned for all our race,

                  His blood atoned for all our race,

                  And sprinkles now the throne of grace.


                  Five bleeding wounds He bears,

                  Received on Calvary;

                  They pour effectual prayers;

                  They strongly plead for me:

                  "Forgive him, O forgive," they cry,

                  "Forgive him, O forgive," they cry,

                  "Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"


                  The Father hears Him pray,

                  His dear anointed One;

                  He cannot turn away

                  The presence of His Son:

                  His Spirit answers to the blood,

                  His Spirit answers to the blood,

                  And tells me I am born of God.


                  My God is reconciled;

                  His pardoning voice I hear;

                  He owns me for His child;

                  I can no longer fear:

                  With confidence I now draw nigh,

                  With confidence I now draw nigh,

                  And "Father, Abba, Father," cry.


                  If "And Can It Be" is my favorite Charles Wesley hymn, and it is, "Arise, My Soul, Arise" is definitely a close second. I love the flow of Charles' thought as the verses progress.

                  1. He starts with Jesus; crucified, resurrected, and exalted. Standing before the throne of God on behalf of us, whose names are known and written on his nail-pierced hands.
                  2. In verse 2, the focus stays on Jesus, but shifts to what Christ has done for us and is doing for us now. His blood was the only and all-sufficient sacrifice that was needed for our redemption and atonement; our being set free and our being made right with God.
                  3. The third verse points to Jesus' five wounds (2 hands, 2 feet, and his side) and how they are the basis from which Jesus intercedes for us.
                  4. We then see the mystery of the Trinity at work as the Father receives those prayers, the unity between the Father and the Son, and the Spirit applying the blood of Jesus to our hearts and giving us assurance of our salvation.
                  5. In the final verse Wesley goes on to describe the implications of all that has gone before on the relationship that we are now enabled to have with God. We are His children and we can draw close to Him with the confidence of a child to their papa.


                  This hymn is such a beautiful and poetic picture of the grace of God at work on our behalf. This is the God who loved us enough to sacrifice Himself in our place, who pleads our case continually, and has adopted us into the very life of His family.


                  Grace & Peace,

                  -Pastor Scott