April 22, 2018
Before We Worship
Our life in the Lord, our pilgrimage, has a particular rhythm. On the one hand we rejoice for the work that God has already done, and for the blessings we have already received. On the other hand we pray for God’s further acts of deliverance, and for the joy that is not yet ours. We need both the “already” and the “not yet.” If we were focused exclusively, or even mainly, on the “not yet,” then life would be unbearable. Life would be, borrowing C. S. Lewis’ famous phrase, “always winter but never Christmas.” This “under-realized eschatology” would only show us what is wrong with the world and life, but not how God reigns sovereign even now. However, if we were focused too much on the “already,” then life would be just as unbearable. Such “over-realized eschatology” would make us look with contempt on the suffering people, bewilder us when suffering comes to us, and make Christ’s call to follow him with our cross a neglected call at best, and a point of embarrassment at worst. We need both the “already” and “not yet.”
Psalm 126 once again syncs our faith to the rhythm of pilgrimage. 126:1–3 sing of the blessings already received, and that unexpectedly. “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.” They could not believe what they were seeing with their eyes! What the LORD did for them felt like a dream. They added nothing to it, except the acknowledgement that it was all the LORDs doing. This caused their “shouts of joy” and made the nations say “The LORD has done great things for them.”
But in 126:4–5 the major key changes to a minor key, and joy turns to mourning. “Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!” Verses 1 and 4 use the same word “fortunes” (which the NIV obscures with 2 different words). The “fortunes” were already restored (v.1), but it is not yet restored (v.4). In view of the already restored fortunes, God’s people shouted with joy and were glad (vss. 2–3). But since the fortunes were yet to be restored, they would “sow in tears” all the while awaiting the joy still to come (vss. 5–6).
Is the psalmist a schizophrenic? Is he contradicting himself? By no means. What he is expressing here is what we ourselves are familiar with. Life is complex, with seasons of joy and laughter, and seasons of sorrow and tears. How, then, do we live? What is the right approach to life? First, we learn that we cannot live as though all the work is done. We sow and reap. Sometimes we “sow in tears.” While we may not be idle, the work is hard and we lose our heart. But we take heart. “He who goes out weeping…shall come home with shouts of joy”. So we persevere, and look forward to the reward. In this world we will bear the cross for a while. But Christ no longer wears the crown of thorns. He is now crowned with glory. So we, also, will one day exchange our sorrow for joy. And we will also know glory.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 126 (Trinity Hymnal p. 832)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #30 “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
1 Timothy 6:11–16 (p. 993)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22 ESV)
5 “Psalm 103 (O My Soul With All Thy Powers)”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 16
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 5:25–6:5 (p. 975)
I Will Be My Brother’s Keeper
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 #168 “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–5 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #355 “We Are God’s People”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 36.
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 April we are reading “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis. And for May, “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography” by Herman Selderhuis. Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
April 22: The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 88–89) will meet.
April 22: Please join us as we discuss the March “12 for 18” book, Tish Harrison Warren’s “Liturgy of the Ordinary” after the worship service.
April 29: The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 90–94) will meet.
April 29: Please join us as we discuss the April “12 for 18” book, C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” after the worship service.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
April 22: Michelle Kay
April 29: Yoori Han