Hearing the Music

Mountains

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For those of you that didn't know, most of the VanderMaas clan spent a good part of the last two weeks in the Rocky Mountains near Winter Park, CO. There is something about the majesty of the mountains that simultaneously humbles and fills creatures like us. Mountains are so big! So old! So formidable in so many ways! It is truly humbling to stand ringed by these peaks and know how small we are. Yet these same mountains which humble us, are owned by our God and King. As the Psalmist says, "In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also!"  Seeing the majesty of the mountains reminds us of the even greater majesty of our God. 

If I could be vulnerable for a moment, I confess that I needed those mountains. In a world that has been so topsy turvy, so changeable, especially this last year; it was good to be reminded that I serve a God who is bigger, eternal, and more formidable than those magnificent Rockies! With everything in flux, I needed to be reminded of the One who cannot change and cannot be moved. The promises which are yes and amen in Christ are mine. His steadfast love toward his people remains. Again with the Psalmist, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1–3).

As we have been studying, this unmovable God reveals himself through his enduring, truthful, sweeter-than-honey word. This week we will look at how in the Word we find comfort in affliction, something that we all can relate to needing. 

 

Photo by Morgan VanderMaas

Our Youngest Generation

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Your faithfulness endures to all generations
- Psalm 119:90

It is a great joy to be assured that the Lord’s faithfulness endures to all generations. Have you ever sat and pondered that? 

Well, for a few minutes I invite you to ponder with me our youngest generation at Christ Church, the little souls who come through the door (or over the counter!) and into the church nursery. 

These wonderful little people are a joy to be with. Yes, they are fun to hold, read stories to, play trucks with, and all the other activities that make up a room full of 6-month- to 3-year-olds. Yet more than all that,they remind us of our responsibility as a church family to nourish each other in our faith, to continue to tell the stories that we know so well, and to pass them down to the next generation.

Do you know what goes on during the time we have the children in the nursery? We worship with them! Yes. It may sound a little silly, however we start the morning with worship around the table. As the weeks have progressed, we have seen how the structure and rhythms have helped the children feel settled. Plus worship with 1-, 2-, and 3-year-olds is always fun -- think hand motions, off-key singing, and general merriment. We certainly do make a joyful noise to the Lord!

Next, we move to story time and response. We tell a short story and often have a coloring page that mirrors the sermon. Even though our lessons are quite short, and our children are quite young, we do this all the time having faith that God's word will not go out in vain.

We end with social time, also known as play time. This is where relationships are formed and trust, community and love are developed. 

Who would've thought the church nursery could provide a small picture of the larger church! 

As I close, I would ask that you pray this week for our families, especially those with children under five. As we have discovered whilst reopening the nursery, this year of COVID has been particularly hard on them. Pray that the nursery will be a place of peace. Pray that the joy of the Lord will be evident to all those who use the nursery or serve in there.

 

Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash

Posted by Ingrid Orr

Worrying (In a Good Way)

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Most of you would not take too kindly to a pastoral invitation to start worrying. Isn’t that the sort of thing that Jesus said not to do (cf. Matt. 6:25-34)?

But words are interesting and there is a type of worrying that is very pastoral. A quick etymological search on worry finds that its Germanic (almost Dutch!) roots formed the Old English word wyrgan which means to ‘strangle’. It is easy to see how this has morphed over the years to describe a feeling of anxiety that grabs us by the throat! But worry in this older sense is still used today to talk about a dog with a bone. The dog worries the bone as it grips it in its teeth, drags it through the yard, and contentedly gnaws it for hours.

Why am I talking about dogs and bones?  This is the image that Eugene Peterson uses in his book entitled Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, to talk about the way that we assimilate the Word. The term the psalmist uses for this type of worrying is the word meditation. The Hebrew word translated as meditation has at its root “to coo or to growl”, a dog with its bone. From Psalm 1 and its description of the blessed man who meditates on the law of God day and night (v.2), to our current journey through Psalm 119 (8 times) we are invited to meditate on the word of God; to worry it like a dog with a bone. 

We are going to delve into the importance of worrying a bit more on Sunday as we unpack the idea of the Word of God making wise the simple. For now let me simply say again, we are not talking about duty as much as we are talking about love. Dogs don’t worry their bones out of a sense of duty, but rather because they love the flavor and they were made to gnaw bones. The psalmist connects love to meditation so clearly in Psalm 11:97 when he says, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” May the Lord increase our love for him and his word.

 

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

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