Lent can be a difficult time to engage in hospitality. Perhaps you agonize over what to give up for the season. Should I drop Facebook or shut down Netflix, or both? Should I fast from certain kinds of food or food altogether? If you’re like me, this decision sneaks up so fast, there is no time to agonize before Lent is upon you and you keep saying, “Let me think about this for a few more days.” But once a decision is made you find yourself in the company of others. This company may be observing Lent, too, but remembering Jesus’ admonition not to appear to be fasting when you fast (Matt 6:16-18), you don’t disclose the fact. This can be tough, especially when you’re invited to someone’s home on Friday when they are serving meat and dairy. Continue reading
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.
At Christ Community Church, we’ve been experimenting with singing the Psalms over the past year or so. We’ve run the gamut from gospel to chant (within the same Psalm). We’ve drawn from a number of resources and traditions and we continue to explore the rich tradition of singing the psalter.
Recently I learned that worship leader/recording artist Robbie Seay had embarked on a Psalms project that I think may be worth checking out. It is a very contemporary approach to singing the Psalms. While he doesn’t include the entirety of a Psalm, the compositions are rooted in a particular Psalm. When we read and memorize portions of Scripture, this is often how we do it. We find a verse or short passage that we find meaningful. These selections are great ways to let God’s word seep into our hearts and breathe from our lungs.
The project consists of three EPs, the second of which has just been released. They are raising support through Kickstarter to fund the third collection. Volumes one and two can be purchased on iTunes. Below is their Kickstarter video.
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.