This Sunday, August 4, 2013, the Revised Common Lectionary has Psalm 107:1-9, 43 as our Psalm of the morning. In preparation, here is another peek at the tune we’ll be singing this Psalm to. Take some time before Sunday to listen to the tune, read the Psalm in its entirety, and prepare for our worship time together.
Peace of Christ to you all,
The second half of the 20th century saw a substantial amount of cultural change in America. The advent of mass media, a spike in our national population, and the rise of recorded music’s influence birthed what has been deemed the “worship wars” in the Church. While music and singing have not been the only corners of church culture to have been affected by these changes, it can feel like it is the most prominent. I am becoming more and more convinced that Christ Community Church is one of the few congregations that continue to sing from a hymnal; even that is not a weekly practice for us. But if hymnals are seeing the twilight of their relevance, the singing of Psalms seem to have been stuck in another century altogether. Read more
Counting Days and Making Them Count Until Jesus Comes
The Church’s calendar or Christian calendar exists so that we might purposefully celebrate the life of Jesus. As His disciples, we order our lives around the pivotal moments in the life of Jesus: His birth, His baptism, His temptation and suffering, His death, His burial, His bodily resurrection, His ascending into heaven, His sending the Holy Spirit to us. The calendar of our lives should revolve around the calendar the Church has observed since the time of Moses. It is now different from the time of Moses because Jesus has fulfilled the intentions of the Old Testament feasts. Therefore, the purpose of the Old Testament feasts and the events of the church calendar find their true meaning only in the life of Jesus. Read more
When I was a boy, there were two days I anticipated most: Christmas and Easter. The reason that I was filled with anticipation was simple. I was getting new toys. Christmas Day was when I made the greatest haul. Easter was like a mini-Christmas. We colored eggs and ate good food. Mom sat out baskets filled with green plastic “straw” and I anxiously went to bed wondering what the Easter bunny would grant me this year. I was never disappointed. That is until one ominous day when my reasoning abilities matured and it was revealed to me that there was no Easter bunny. I can still feel the sense of betrayal when my imagination gave way to a greater reality. There was no Easter bunny. I was hurt and the world, for a moment, seemed unreliable. What next? Would the ground give way from underneath me? Read more
Believe it or not, the word “Lent” isn’t a particularly religious word. “Lent” simply means “the spring season.” And the Lenten season lasts for forty days. Throughout the Holy Scriptures, forty days was a time of testing or discipline. Noah and his family were in the ark when it rained for forty days and nights as God cleansed the world of sin. The Israelites mourned the passing of Joseph for forty days. Israel ate manna for forty years in the desert. Moses retreated with the Lord for forty days and nights. The prophet Jonah reluctantly told the people of Nineveh that they had forty days of repentance before the judgment. Our Lord Jesus was led into the desert for forty days of temptation. Likewise, He was on the earth for forty days after His resurrection as He manifested Himself to his disciples. Read more
There are parts of the church year that are very familiar to everyone: Advent, Lent, and Easter, for instance. Evangelical circles embrace some of these seasons more than they did just 2 decades ago. In particular, Advent has become more popular in recent years as the ‘lead-up’ to the Christmas season.
But what about Epiphany? The truth is, we as gentiles would not be here if not for what this season represents. It is a season that may be underrated at times. Epiphany is about the light of Christ coming to rest of the world. The magi from the east, of which Pastor Ross preached so eloquently of this last Sunday, were the first gentiles to encounter Christ in the New Testament. This was a clue of the future, for eventually the Christian faith would spread throughout the world. The idea of a Messiah for the whole world and not just the Jews was a revolutionary idea, but for those who have ears to hear, it is obvious God was up to this from the very beginning. Read more