“What Gift Can We Bring,” “As a Fire Is Meant For Burning:” Hymns For Pledge Sunday


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What are the stories behind these hymns?”

“What Gift Can We Bring” 

“What gift can we bring” written by Jane Marshall is a hymn of pure gratitude. A lifelong Dallas resident, she composed this hymn in 1980 for her congregation’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Northaven United Methodist Church. Stanza two reflects on heritage, giving thanks for the past and those “who planted and watered so dreams could come true.” Stanza three looks to the future that is “full of surprises,” yet knowing that regardless of what happens, “we rest in God’s keeping and live in God’s love.” Jane Marshall wrote both the text and the tune for this hymn. Tune writers usually name tunes, so Marshall chose the name that fit the occasion, ANNIVERSARY SONG.

“As a Fire Is Meant for Burning”

“As a Fire is Meant For Burning” was written in 1982 by Ruth Duck, professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, using sources 2 Corinthians 4:7 and Matthew 4:14-16. The text uses tunes such as JOYOUS LIGHT and BEACH SPRING. There is a Spanish translation by Georgina Pando-Connolly, ‘Como un Fuego Brilla y Querna.’ 

In the first stanza, Duck uses terms of purpose. The fire’s action is that of warmth and light and the church’s action should reveal the commandment that we love one another as we love ourselves. Her vision of mission calls us to work among those in need gently and to allow the light of Christ to be apparent through our actions. In the second stanza,” Her language of clay pots helps us remember that we are fragile. Christians and non-Christians are made of this same ordinary, breakable stuff, and our gentleness in action may ensure we don’t fracture others as we light the way to God. In the third stanza, purpose and action turn toward hope– the hope of renewed life and God’s grace. Our lives as reflections of the love and forgiveness of God. Christ’s light will lead us out of the darkness of the world into the love of God.

In Ruth Duck’s hymn text, Christ’s light is within us, and we carry the light within us as learners, teachers, pilgrims, seekers, and givers who point to the One who transforms lives as we work in mission. As we walk forward in serving others through music, worship, and mission, may our lives indeed “reflect the radiance of ‘God’s new and glorious dawn.’

This Sunday, our musicians will include the Virtual Handbell Choir and Julia Hanna.

To worship with us, hear our beautiful music, sing with us, enjoy our children’s time, scripture readings, sermons, prayers, and story sharing, go to our Facebook page, or click here.

Click here to enjoy a Youtube video of“What Gift Can We Bring” 

Click here to enjoy a Youtube video of “As a Fire Is Meant for Burning”

This Sunday, November 8 is Pledge Sunday for 2021. Please consider Christ’s love and what Princeton UMC means to you and your family. Complete your pledge online or fill out a pledge card and return it by mail to the church by November 30. Visit our giving page for more information.

Written by Isabella Dougan