Category Archives: Worship Notes

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Sunday, April 12, 2015 | 2nd Sunday in Eastertide

Welcome to the season of Eastertide! In the coming weeks, the Church will be seeing herself anew in the arms of the resurrected Jesus! Eastertide is a time of identifying ourselves as the people of the resurrection. Throughout this season, the Revised Common Lectionary replaces Old Testament readings with readings from the Acts of the Apostles. Upon reading the texts above, you may notice two seemingly disparate themes. The Psalm and Acts passages seem to harmonize about the unity of Christian fellowship while the John passage is speaking of Jesus appearing to his disciples after the resurrection. They hinge that hold these themes together is found in Acts 4:33, “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” The passage goes on to tell of the unity of the new believers, implying that Christian fellowship and the giving witness to the resurrection go hand in hand. As we sojourn throughout this season, pay attention to the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection. He goes to great lengths to both appear to them but also to prove the physicality of his resurrected body. Consider His words to Thomas regarding those who have not seen yet believe. Jesus also tells his disciples that he is sending them as the Father had sent Him. The resurrection of Christ is not only for our benefit but to the benefit to those who have yet to hear of it.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

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Psalm 149
Exodus 12:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20
Romans 13:8-14

Community life can be a wonderful experience. At its best, each member benefits all others and all others benefit each member. Fellowship among believers is only possible when we see and treat one another as Christ has seen and treats us. This week’s gospel passage addresses the difficult reality that community life is not always peaceful. Directly after Jesus gives these instructions he tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. Jesus tells us how to handle such a servant in verses 15-20. The presence of witnesses is for the purpose of “establishing a word.” When multiple members of a community hear one party say on thing, that party is accountable to those witnesses. Otherwise, arguments can go on forever. The community of Christ should be characterized by the same love that reconciled us to God. The morning’s selections are all focused on this love and peace. Let us prayerfully join with one another in humility as we celebrate this love and seek love and forgiveness from one another.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 | Eastertide

Psalm 66:8–20
Acts 17:22–31
John 14:15–21
1 Peter 3:13–22

As we near the end of the easter season we approach the great celebration of Pentecost. The gospel does not end with the resurrection but continues to see Christ ascend into heaven that he might send the Holy Spirit to be his presence and comfort for his children. Jesus makes this promise in this week’s gospel passage. As a response, we will sing the Getty’s hymn, Holy Spirit. This prayer illustrates the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all Christians. We will then sing Humble by Audrey Assad. This will remind us of the great cost ofChrist’s incarnation and even alludes to the Acts passage as it references the “Unknown God” who “holds our world in his hands.” We will close the service out with the song we learned last week, “All to Us.” The end of our service is a sort of “sending out.” This song is a prayer sung by the Church and is asking that as we go about the world we would be known for our love of Jesus, the glory of his name, and the righteousness we possess in him. The service will begin with “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” as our call to worship.

Sunday, May 18, 2014 | Eastertide

Easter-Sunday

Psalm 31:1–5, 15–16
Acts 7:55–60
John 14:1–14
1 Peter 2:2–10

This morning’s Psalm puts us in mind of Christ as he is on the cross. We can imagine ourselves where he is. Because of him we are righteous and our enemy the Devil stands about to accuse us. We are like children who stumble in the night to get in bed with mom and dad to seek shelter and safety. Our heavenly Father is our safety, our stronghold, our fortress. We begin our service with “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” We are then reminded of the words of comfort Jesus speaks to his disciples: I go to prepare a place for you. Fittingly we will sing “That Where I Am, There You May Also Be” by Rich Mullins. The next hymn, “In Christ Alone,” covers the breadth of the gospel. Philip asks if he can see the Father and Jesus tells him that if he can see him, he has seen the Father. Understanding that Christ and the Father are one is important to understanding the breadth of the gospel. He is sufficient because he and the Father are one! This language is echoed in John 17 when Jesus prays for the unity of the church. We will learn a new song called “All to Us” by Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Jesse Reeves. This song is about our unity and how it glorious the Bride of Christ really is.

Sunday, March 30, 2014 | Lent 4

Psalm 23
1 Samuel 16:1-13
John 9:1-41
Ephesians 5:8-14

When tuning an instrument, two strings are sounded and one is matched to the other. The more in-tine the stings, the less dissonance one hears. The less in-tune, the dissonance increases. In John 8, Jesus calls the Pharisees sons of Satan because they do Satan’s will. They are dissonant with God’s perfect will. Jesus, on the other hand, is perfectly in-tune with the Father. The blind man’s confession in 9:31-33 is an acknowledgement of 1) God’s power, and 2) his healer’s consistency with that power. Before Jesus heals him, he says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus’ ministry is a constant display of the will of the Father. It is only by him that we can know the tone by which all notes are tuned.

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Sunday, March 31, 2014 | Lent 4

Psalm 23
1 Samuel 16:1-13
John 9:1-41
Ephesians 5:8-14

When tuning an instrument, two strings are sounded and one is matched to the other. The more in-tine the stings, the less dissonance one hears. The less in-tune, the dissonance increases. In John 8, Jesus calls the Pharisees sons of Satan because they do Satan’s will. They are dissonant with God’s perfect will. Jesus, on the other hand, is perfectly in-tune with the Father. The blind man’s confession in 9:31-33 is an acknowledgement of 1) God’s power, and 2) his healer’s consistency with that power. Before Jesus heals him, he says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus’ ministry is a constant display of the will of the Father. It is only by him that we can know the tone by which all notes are tuned.
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Sunday, March 23, 2014 | Lent 3

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Psalm 95
Exodus 17:1-7
John 4:5-42
Romans 5:1-11

This week’s text is the passage about Jesus’ discussion with the Samaritan woman. On the heals of last week’s passage in John 3, this week we continue to consider water. Jesus first asks for water and then offers water. In the first instance, he lacks water, in the second, he abounds in it. The woman has access to physical water but not to the living water Jesus speaks of. Just as Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel, could not appreciate or see the need for living water, neither could the half-gentile sinner. Yet, Jesus offers this living water to her.

The New Testament reading will be followed by “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.” “…behold I freely give…” the hymn says, “…the living water, thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.” This will be followed by “Come, All Ye Pining.” It is appropriate during Lent to consider the poverty Christ subjected himself to and understand that despite this poverty He had an abundance to give. May we continue to rely on Him for our continued sustenance in this life. We will open with “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and will be sent out with the Crown and Covenant Psalter’s Psalm 121D, “I Lift My Eyes and See the Hills.”

Sunday, March 16, 2014 | Lent 2

Lent-2

Psalm 121
Genesis 12:1-4a
John 3:1-17
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Jesus is instructing Nicodemus and chides him for not understanding the New Birth. “…unless you are born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Evangelicals are often distinguished as “born again Christians.” This implies that there are other kinds of Christians. However, according to Jesus, the New Birth and being a Christian cannot be distinguished from one another. This week, we’ll be focusing on the New Birth and the Holy Spirit’s work in us to bring it about. “Breathe new life into my willing soul,” will be our plea. We will also repeat the song, “From Jesus’ Side” from last week. This focuses our attention on 1) our need for salvation, 2) Christ’s atonement for our sin, and 3) the Church which is a result of his atonement. We end the set with the chorus, “Hallelujah, I am born again, He’s alive now! I’m alive in Him!” As a Lenten song, our call to worship will be the hymn, “Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days,” set to the tune of “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” The service will end with the introduction of a metrical version of Psalm 121 from the Crown and Covenant Psalter.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

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Exodus 24:12–18
Matthew 17:1–9
2 Peter 1:16–21

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. The New Testament reading alludes to the Exodus passage. In both cases, Man meets God atop a mountain. I was struck by Matthew 17:5. “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them…” I always imagine a dark cloud because of the word “overshadowed.” However, Matthew tells us that it was a “bright” cloud. How is it that a bright cloud can exist? What is a bright cloud? How can a cloud be bright? Nave’s Bible Dictionary points out that the transfiguration of Christ did not occur because a bright light shone on him but because glory came from him. The brightness of the cloud reminds me of the light resting on the heads of the apostles at Pentecost, the light God created in the beginning, and glory of the burning bush. Christ does not receive, reflect, or absorb light but gives it.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Psalm 112:1–10
Isaiah 58:1–12
Matthew 5:13–20
1 Corinthians 2:1–16

  • O Lord, Teach Me to Follow You (Psalm 27)
  • Lord, Have Mercy
  • In Christ Alone
  • All the Poor and Powerless

The Isaiah passage presents a church whose worship seems spot-on. Yet there seems to be a distance between them and God. God then exhorts and reminds them of what he wants from them. The list strikes a resemblance to this morning’s Gospel passage in Matthew 5. We are reminded to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, free the oppressed. In other words, our worship is incomplete unless it is applied in the showing of mercy and the love for justice (1 John 3:18). This week we are challenged to consider the humility Christ exhibits in His incarnation and not take it for granted. Instead we need to consider our own poverty, nakedness, oppression, and in response to our emancipation in Christ, identify our fellow sufferers in the world. Only then can we be the light of the world. Otherwise, we hide our light beneath a basket and lose our saltiness. We will sing “Lord, Have Mercy” as a confession of complacency in the world. After this, we will remind ourselves of the glorious gospel and our great need of forgiveness by singing “In Christ Alone.” Our commissioning song will be new: “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters. This song explicitly connects these ideas by citing the naked, hungry, and oppressed.