May 13, 2018
Thank you for your prayers. I look forward to worshiping with you this Lord’s Day, Lord willing. --- KH
Before We Worship
One of the most jarring things about reading the Psalms is how they teach us to deal with those that oppress us. Jesus commands “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43), and to “do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). But the Psalms, for example, Ps 129, strike a very different tone: “May all who hate Zion…be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up…nor do those who pass by say, “The blessings of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!” Note the opening words of Ps 129. “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—let Israel now say—“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”. In other words, God’s people were to join in a call-and-response corporate prayer and sining, in which they pray to God to punish their oppressors, for all their works to be ruined and desires frustrated, and that there be no one who wishes God’s blessings upon them. Jesus and Ps 129 seem worlds apart. Yet they are both Spirit-inspired Scripture. So how do we untangle this tricky knot?
First, all Scriptures come from the same Spirit. Thus we expect consistency, not contradictions, whether intentional or accidental. Second, what seems at first glance to be a contradiction is in fact God teaching us to look at complex matters from a different perspective. Life, after all, is not simple, and the problems we face are often thorny. Only a childish and a lazy mind would cry foul because God gives grown-up answers to grown-up problems.
Psalm 129 (and others like it) allow us to look at oppression and oppressors as they are without any mitigation or attempts to lessen their impact upon us. We may indeed learn to pray for them and do them good as Jesus teaches us. But it will be with the full realization of the depth of the evil we face. To love as Jesus commands us to love requires us the grace to love the unlovable. In this way our love will approach God’s love for the unlovable people who caused his Son to suffer and die.
And as much as Psalm 129 is our words to God about the evil we face, it is also God’s words to us about what he intends to do about those that oppress us. Even though God in his unsearchable wisdom grants us to suffer in this life, he hates oppression of all kind, and especially the oppression that is directed against his people. God in grace will one day redeem our experience of suffering, and indeed bring to bear glorious fruit from them. But oppression itself is evil and cannot be redeemed. It can only be utterly rejected, condemned, and put to death.
So we sing and pray. May the LORD give us the grace to love and do good to those who hate us. In doing so we will grow ever closer to the LORD who daily loves and does good to us. But we can also sing and pray that all oppression come to an end and all oppressors be utterly rejected by God. In this way, also, we will grow closer to the LORD, who is goodness himself.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 129 (Trinity Hymnal p. 832)
‡ 14 “Hallelujah Praise Jehovah”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
2 Timothy 1:6–7 (p. 995)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #377 “Jesus, Where’er Your People Meet”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 19
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Galatians 6:6–10 (p. 975)
Sowing and Reaping
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 #347 “The Church’s One Foundation” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #388 “Savior, Again to Thy Name We Raise”
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 May we are reading “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography” by Herman Selderhuis. For June, David Murray, “Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.” Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
May 13 (Lord’s Day): Due to Mother’s Day, there will be no catechism lessons or fellowship lunch after the service.
May 20 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for our monthly fellowship potluck lunch.
May 27: (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 99–100) will meet.
May 27 (Lord’s Day): Come and join us as we discuss “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography.”
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
May 13: Liza Beede
May 20: Michelle Kay