Monday, September 01, 2014

I Lift Up My Eyes

Our fall worship series calls us to gather around the Psalms.  There’s 150 of them, of all kinds and genres.  We all know all of some and some of many.  We know more verses from Psalms than we probably think we do.  In the introduction to his commentary on The Psalms, Walter Brueggemann says:

When people of faith gather around the Hebrew scriptures, the focus is often the book of Psalms.  This collection of songs has powerfully influenced worship, theology, ethics, and piety for centuries.  The book continues to influence contemporary readers with is eloquent poetic language, which communicates directly to the life circumstances of contemporary readers…This central biblical book continues to capture the imaginations of readers today as they seek to pray and live faithfully.  [Psalms, Brueggemann & Bellenger  NCBC].

                More than a Bible study, per se, what I invite you to is to live the Psalms with us over the course of the series.  The worship moment - from the visuals you’ll find in the sanctuary (thanks to Brian and Kayla Earwood), to the music, the liturgy, the prayers - the choral selections, we are setting the space for us to live with and through these ancient prayers and praises.  Our aim is to set the space where we can connect with these words in the context of our lives here and now.

                There are six Psalms around which we’ll bring our focus.  We are preparing a booklet containing all of them (and a pdf version will be available for download), together with some suggestions for daily prayers(including apps for download on your mobile device).  We ask that you commit to read the Psalm of the week each day. 

                Rather than seek to cover the full range of the Psalms for the series, we sought Psalms that speak to us out of which the homily will emerge.

                Our schedule is as follows:
                                September   7   Psalm 121 “I lift up my eyes to the hills…”
                                September 14   Psalm 130  “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord…”
                                September 21   Psalm   51  “Have mercy on me, O Lord…”
                                September 28   Psalm   77  “I cry aloud to God…that he may hear me”
                                October       5   Psalm 133 “How very good it is when kindred live in unity together”
                                October      12  Psalm 47   “Clap your hands, all you peoples….”

Of all the things about St. John’s for which we should be most thankful – our servant ministry; our glad welcome of all God’s children not regardless of who we are but precisely because of who we are, who we love, the journey we’re taking; the loving spirit of our fellowship—we all need take time to reflect in whose name we do what we do.  Each time we gather, we should pause and bear witness to the reality of God’s presence in our midst.  How have we, how have you seen the “God moment” at St. John’s, in your daily walk?
                Lift up your eyes with us, and together let us know and praise the One from whom our help comes.

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