On Sunday we will be sharing the Lord’s Supper online! We will be opening up our Sunday Zoom session at 9:30 to give you ample opportunity to get connected in time for a 10am start. Further instructions will be in the usual place on this church website, under "Worship." Don’t forget to have bread and juice/wine ready.
Yesterday we looked at paragraph 2 of the Preamble of Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony. Today, in paragraph 3, the tone changes:
1. As followers of Jesus Christ,
living in this world—
which some seek to control,
and others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!
2. From the beginning,
through all the crises of our times,
until the kingdom fully comes,
God keeps covenant forever:
Our world belongs to God!
God is King: Let the earth be glad!
Christ is victor: his rule has begun!
The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
3. Still, despair and rebellious pride fill the earth:
some, crushed by failure
or broken by pain,
give up on life and hope and God;
but still hoping for human triumph,
work feverishly to realize their dreams.
As believers in God,
we also struggle with the spirits of this age,
resisting them in the power of the Spirit,
testing them by God’s sure Word.
[Psalm 2 expresses the rebellious spirit of the human race. See also Romans 1-3. Ephesians 6:10-17 describes the struggle of believers with the spirits of the age. On testing the spirits, see 1 John 4.]
We certainly feel the weight of this testimony and these Scriptures as we reflect on the terrible events of this week. Although we’ve now experienced too many of these mass murders to believe that our country is immune to such tragedy, we still have the same questions as always. But even as we grieve and lament, we know that these are manifestations of another, cosmic struggle. We are drawn into this greater struggle because we have come under the refuge and rule of God’s Anointed, the One who is greater than the one who is in the world. So as believers of God, we test, resist, struggle, and move forward.
Our song for today was an obvious choice because it reminds us first that our struggle is hardly new, and second because it points us back to Christ our Victor: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” There are nearly 500 years of versions on the internet, so I chose a contemporary version, recorded in quarantine under the humble name, “Virtual Choir #4.” Watch it through to the credits to hear who made it and how it was made.
On this day of the “virtual vigil” in Nova Scotia, I invite you to participate with an prayer practice shared by Nel vG. She has tied a piece of cloth to the tree in front of their house, filled with small rocks. These rocks are “prayer intentions,” visible reminders of what they are praying for. It is adapted from a prayer practice of the Lakota and Cherokee people. If you want to read further, the idea is explained in Richard Rohr’s April 11 Daily Meditation. Rohr writes, “perhaps this practice will help you in your embrace of new life and resurrection.” It may also give you opportunity, as it did with Nel, to tell your neighbours for what, and to whom, you are praying in these trying times. You can participate with anything you have in your home already, and tie it to your balcony rail or outside tree or post. It would be so encouraging to see prayer ties all over our city! Let people know you are praying!
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Click here for God’s blessing in song.
PS – My online prayer from 11-12, using the same Zoom link.today will be 1-2pm. Also, please join us today for
PSS – There will be no “Elbow Bump” Saturday or Sunday. Talk to you Monday, Fellowship!