The First and Last

 

I wrote this song in 1999, but it really came into its own last year, more than 20 years later – sung in church as an encouragement to my congregation during lockdown, and accompanied on the ukelele at the bedside of someone who was dying. Now it’s my privilege to share a recording of this song with you, with my friend, Margriet, singing harmony.

 

THESE ARE THE WORDS
by Irene Bom

These are the words of the First and Last
The one who came, who died, who rose again
These are the words and the words are true
These are the words of Jesus to you.

I know, I know what you’re going through
I know, I know ’cause I’ve been there too
And be sure my love will carry you
all the way, all the way through.

These are the words of the First and Last
The one who came, who died, who rose again
These are the words and the words are true
These are the words of Jesus to you.

Fear not, fear not, there’s no need to fear
Fear not, fear not because I am here
And be sure My love will keep you strong
every day, all the day long.

 

Vocals: Irene Bom and Margriet van Overbeeke

Inspiration

This song is inspired by Jesus’ words to the church in Smyrna, as recorded in Revelation 2:8-10.

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know … Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. … Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

 

First love


‘You yourself know what you need’  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Jesus said:

“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

Revelation 2:3-4 (ESV)

 
Here is a prayer written by Scotty Smith that helps us prayerfully consider if and how Jesus’ words might apply to us.
 


A Prayer for Keeping Our First Love First

Dear Lord Jesus,

Even as we first needed grace to respond to your love (Eph. 2:8-10), so we need grace to stay alive to your love, and to grow even deeper in our affection for you. Your love for us is the one constant in our lives—for you love us with everlasting, unwavering, unabated affection. Everything else changes—everything else is subject to whim and fancy. But, unfortunately, our love for you does ebb and flow.

Jesus, give us fresh grace to love you with an undying love. May the cooling of our affections for you bother us more than the fragile economy, our broken relationships, political upheaval in the world, concerns about our health, getting older, or anything else. Jesus, don’t let us get used to status quo, middle-class, business-as-usual love for you.

If, by the Holy Spirit, we hear you saying to us this morning, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Rev. 2:4), may we welcome it as a great gift, and respond with humility, gratitude and repentance.

For it means you are pursuing us, and that you delight in us; it means your banner over us is love and your jealousy is current. That you are jealous for our love, Lord Jesus, is the greatest compliment you could possibly pay us. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and grace-full name.

 
~ written by Scotty Smith, posted on thegospelcoalition.org (excerpt)
 


 
From the blog
Seed
In the school of prayer with Ignatius of Loyola
Forget not
 

The last may be first


Rotterdam shop window  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Opening Invocation

(inspired by Luke 14: 7-14)

Hospitable God, you invite us to a banquet
where the last may be first,
and the humble and the mighty trade places.
Let us share your abundance with no fear of scarcity;
let us greet strangers as angels you have sent!
Send your Spirit now
so that we may find a place at your table
and welcome others with radical hospitality.
In the name of Jesus, Guest at all our tables, we pray.
Amen.

 
written by Rev. Christopher Ney
Posted on www.uccfiles.com (download)
 


 
From the blog
Grace upon grace
Small talk
We are a body
 

First things first


Spotted outside Rotterdam Central Station  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
Living alone during a pandemic, working from home since March 2020, one of the ways I stay alive is to be creative and share my work online. Through this blog, for example. Thank you.

Another creative outlet in 2020 was the 12 Song Challenge, hosted by resoundworship.org, with monthly assignments, attracting Christian songwriters from far and wide.

Our final challenge was to write a “family” song, and a number of people opted to build their song on Joshua’s words in Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

I’ve found a short prayer of dedication anchored in this self-same verse for this first post in 2021. May you, like Joshua, find the support and inspiration you need to serve the Lord in faithful and creative ways this coming year.
 


Prayer of Dedication

(inspired by Joshua 24: 1-3, 14-25)

Creating God, guide us to put first things first in our lives.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Christ our Lord, enable us to follow your example.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Spirit Alive, shine your light that our choices may be a reflection.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

 
~ by Katherine Hawker, posted on her Liturgies Outside the Box website.
 


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