the view from the pew 1-28-17

“ … and what does the Lord require of you?

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New song worship, fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Saturday services run pretty much the same. There are about 50 persons in attendance. Finding your favorite pew is rarely an issue. And when we hit the end of January, the Christian witnesses are in full bloom. Who is witnessing Christ? The youth who are finishing up confirmation classes. They will have their first communions soon followed in May when they are confirmed as adult church members. Tonight’s speech was given by Mallory. She explained what the Bible meant to her. The Bible was described by her as a place of refuge, a place to go when her friends and schoolmates act the way you’d expect teens to act. She comes from good stock as her parents and her older sister are strong in the faith and give her a good foundation on which to rely. Mallory did ask one thing of the members of Holy Cross: to pray for this class of confirmands to keep strong in the faith because she knows satan wants them to fail. Do it now. I’ll wait.
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Our songs this evening were as follows: Come, Now is the Time to Worship; I Could Sing of Your Love Forever; these two others I fondly call ‘Muppet songs’, ‘Blest Are They’, and ‘Make Me a Servant’. I call them ‘Muppet songs’ because they are simple and sweet and a little sing-songy, the kind of songs you’d hear in a Muppet movie. Finally, our communion song, Amazing Grace, was sung by Brandon, the youth director.

We had an invocation, an introit (a speak-and-response of a psalm between the pastor and congregation), a prayer of the Church, a prayer for the members of Holy Cross, and a benediction. The most popular benediction is Numbers 6:24-26:

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
”’

Before you go “ho hum, that’s nice”, think for a moment what just happened. A man, a called and ordained servant of The Lord, acting in the place of The Living God just blessed you, my friend. What more love do you need to take with you than the love of God?

Our sermon? Yes, Pastor McClean preached the Gospel. The topic is given away by the title, “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with Your God”. Pastor has two children who serve The Lord, one in government working for refugees, the other in the Church having done mission work in inner-city churches. Whereas pastor had an influence on his children as they witnessed his love for mankind through his profession, his children have had an influence on him through the same love and works done for others.

While his sermon certainly could have been filed under the category of ‘politics’, I prefer to regard it as ‘topical’. Immigration has been in the news lately and with social media being the main source of news, fake news, alternative facts and just plain lies, it leaves anyone with a keyboard and two fists to declare righteousness over ‘the other side’. Pastor sought to remind us that it is our duty as Christians to give comfort and aid to the strangers in our midst. There is no argument against this. The Hebrews were strangers in a strange land when they were used as slave labor in Egypt. God harkened back to this when He told the Israelites to show mercy and act justly to all people.

Regardless of what the situation is in America regarding open or closed borders, the fact remains that there are strangers among us who need our help. There are also orphans who need parents. The elderly require emotional and health care. Those in prison are scared and lonely and deserve our time. Those in poverty and in ill health require the best of Christ’s love. Abused women need our support. Those caught up in addictions require help. The list of those God set up for us to care for is without end and because of that it is impossible for us to fulfill His law. Which is why we need a savior. Jesus does for us what we can’t do on our own. So, what can you do? Trust whatever Jesus teaches to be right and true. If we pray for leaders of all nations to obey His word and treat their citizens with dignity and honor, perhaps immigration ceases to be an issue in our own country. Until then …

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…act justly … love mercy … and walk humbly with your God.”

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