March 4, 2018
Before We Worship
During one of our family outings to a beach some years ago, one of our children was frightened by the crashing waves, and said, "Daddy, make the waves stop!" I was flattered by the request. But, of course, I cannot protect him from all ills and harms in this world. But "When other helpers fail, and comforts flee" the "Help of the helpless" abides with us. Such is the message of Ps 121.
Note the word “keep” or “keeper” appear six times in Psalm 121. This psalm is one of the “Songs of Ascents,” a series of songs that describe and accompanied the Old Testament saints’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Protection is a burning issue for a pilgrim who is traveling arduously and through lonely country. We take long distance travel for granted. Our cars are reliable. But if we should ever find ourselves in trouble, help is usually a phone call away. Not so the ancient world of the psalmist. The pilgrimage to Jerusalem was fraught with danger. The roads were treacherous. The passages through the mountains and desert could expose the pilgrim to the dangers of heat during the day, cold by the night, not to mention the unsavory characters along the way. A slip of the foot, a twisted ankle, a fall, could all be catastrophic. No wonder, then, that the psalmist voices his anxiety!
But this psalm is also one of confidence and trust. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” The hills are the source of the danger. The LORD is the source of safety and protection. Whatever threats the psalmist faces, whatever journey he is called to make, are all in this world where the LORD rules supreme.
Indeed, the LORD is the keeper/ He will keep the foot from slipping (v.3) provides shade for protection from the sun (v.5), shelter for the cold of the night (v.6). He provides safe passage from those with evil intent to harm (v.7). The psalmist trusted the LORD to be his keeper in every dangers, to be the Help of the helpless “When other helpers fail, and comforts flee.”
Our lives are far removed from the scene depicted in Psalm 121. We no longer make our pilgrimage to earthly Jerusalem. But Ps 121 is nevertheless the traveller’s guide for the Christian pilgrims on their way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Indeed, our pilgrimage is also fraught with danger. We are hard pressed in every way, and we often meet stiff resistance. We stumble in many ways, and the far-off heavenly Jerusalem feels all but unreachable. That is what discouragement is. We lose heart in life’s many trials, and our hearts sink at the thought of pressing on.
But we must press on. Not because our strength is sufficient for the travails ahead. But because God is sufficient, and he is our keeper. And we are comforted. Jesus our Head as cross the finish line. We, his body, will reach our heavenly home just the same.
Call to Worship
Psalm 121 (reading responsively from TH p. 831)
Trinity Hymnal #403 “Abide with Me: Fast Falls the Eventide”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
1 Timothy 4:13–16 (p. 992)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Trinity Hymnal #371 “O Lord of Hosts, How Lovely”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 10
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 5:1–6 (p. 974)
Christ Set Us Free
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing Trinity Hymnal #647 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 34.
We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!
Upcoming Events and Notices
Every Lord’s Day 10:15 AM: Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.
Join us for “12 for 18” as we read 12 great books in the year 2018. For March we are reading “Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Harrison Warren.
March 4 (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 82–83) and adult catechism lesson (Q. 34) will meet after the worship service.
March 25 (Lord’s Day): The Session requests all communicant members to attend our annual congregational meeting for the purpose of adopting a new budget for the fiscal year 2018–19.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
March 4: Yoori Han
March 11: Kelly Rogers