Hearing the Music

Rest for the Worker

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For many of us Labor Day serves as the unofficial "end of summer" holiday. But where is the celebration in that? A little digging into the history of Labor Day will find that it arose in the late 1800's, near the height of the Industrial Revolution. The move from an agriculturally based society to a manufacturing based society saw a rise in long factory hours, harsh conditions and generally bad morale, especially in the lower classes and among immigrants. Labor Day began unofficially and eventually was signed into law in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland as a way to celebrate the working class and their accomplishments. 

Celebrating workers and their accomplishments is a worthwhile endeavor. Over the last few years we have been highlighting the role that work plays in the life of the Christian. We were created to tend the garden and keep it, to bring about the flourishing of creation in all that we do. For sure, as a result of the fall, our work has taken on a quality of toil, but that does not eradicate the inherent goodness of work. May we take some time this weekend to THINK of all the ways that we are laboring in the re-Edenized world of the New Testament. Then, THANK the Lord for the good work, paid and unpaid, that he has given us to do both as individuals and as a community. And while we are on the topic of work, why not make plans to join us next weekend for the Faithfully Working discussion with Dr. Daniel Doriani?

In the previous paragraph I mentioned the re-Edenized world of the New Testament. What I have in mind here is the way that God is renewing what was lost and broken in the fall. In Exodus, particularly with the tabernacle, there is a calling back to creation and a movement to restore what was lost. This renewal culminates in the resurrection as Jesus essentially brings about a renewed creation, with a renewed humanity. We are now heading toward an eternity where Paradise lost is Paradise regained (see this in reading the first 2 chapters of Genesis and the last 2 chapters of Revelation, and note all the connections!). Re-Edenization will be in view this Sunday as we finish our look at Exodus. We will see God's glory finally come and fill the tabernacle in the midst of the people. In so many ways this signals a foretaste of the reversal of Eden, where Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden and lost the intimacy with YHWH. But now we have intimacy with the living God. His glory can be seen all around! What a story to celebrate!

 

Photo by Angelina Kichukova on Unsplash

Dedication

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One of the things I admire about Olympic athletes is how dedicated they are to their sport. Just think of how many hours they have spent honing their craft by the time they reach the international stage. The same can be said for musicians, artists, writers, computer hackers, gamers, etc... it takes dedication!

The dictionary definition of dedication speaks of being "exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular service or purpose". This dedication can be true of both a thing or a place, or it can also be true of a person. This Sunday we will take some time, through ceremony, to allocate our finished construction to its intended purpose; namely, the glory of God. As this project has taken shape, through its concept phase and now to its completion, it has always been about extending community and enabling mission for the glory of God. Today the atrium will host a discussion around work, vocation and calling. Very soon it will be hosting Sunday School, Bible studies, and trainings of various sorts. As a central hub for the life of the church, in it coffee will be served, good news will be celebrated, tears will be shed, and hugs shared. I hope that you will join us between services this Sunday, at 10am, for a time of prayer, singing and dedication of this space for the glory of God.

The theme of dedication doesn't stop with the church building though, especially this week. Last week we were reminded of the important connection between the tabernacle/temple of the Old Testament and the indwelling of Christ with his people of the New Testament. In a very real way WE are "exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular service or purpose". This week as we look at chapters 35-39 of Exodus, we will take an in depth look at what our dedication looks like as grace-inundated followers of Jesus!

 

Photo by Marcus Ng on Unsplash

A World of Competing Sorrows

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We certainly have seen the sorrows of the world in Afghanistan this week. We have watched and read accounts coming from that war torn country with frustration, fear, sadness, helplessness, perhaps even a little hopelessness. We grieve for our sisters and brothers of the faith there, knowing that many of them will be called to hold fast to the faith in the face of martyrdom. While there may be little tangibly that many of us can do, while we may have differing opinions on how things should have or should be handled politically, we all have the privilege and responsibility to bring these people, this country, before the Lord in prayer. We prayed through Psalm 9 as a Christ Church community Wednesday night. In the midst of his own trouble David proclaims, “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (vv. 9,10)”

Closer to home we have the sorrow that the COVID Delta variant is rising within our community. The positivity rates in Kent County have continued to rise and now exceed the threshold that the CDC recommends for masking in indoor gatherings. In light of this, the session is recommending the following as we continue to monitor the situation. 

  • First, we will reinstitute an outdoor offering at 10:30, for at least the next three weeks, to enjoy the outside feel while we continue to monitor the situation.
  • Second we are recommending but not requiring CC attenders to mask at indoor events as the Delta variant has proven to be highly transmittable regardless of vaccination status. Please read this helpful primer on the Delta variant.

My guess is that many of you, like me, were really hoping that we would never have to have another COVID conversation again. Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Some of you may be saying that it is about time we addressed this. In ethics they talk about “a world of competing sorrows” - that is, a world in which there is no response that does only good and not also harm. In responding to COVID this is especially true when you factor in the enormous emotional toll on individuals, our community and our call to discipleship that will be involved in these decisions. We will all need to be as wise and charitable as possible.

While we seek to take appropriate measures with respect to COVID, we do believe that our situation is different than last year. As such we are committed to worshipping together, Sunday School, Bible study, prayer meetings, and other discipleship endeavors. Let us also commit to honoring one another as we all have different vulnerabilities, opinions and pressure points when it comes to COVID. As we saw last week, and will dig deeper into this week, in the midst of brokenness and pain, Moses asked the Lord, “Please show us your glory!”. It is a prayer that the Lord answers with abounding mercy that sustains a community in the midst of their wilderness wanderings. Sounds like exactly what we need.

 

 Photo by Ahmed M Elpahwee on Unsplash

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