May 6, 2018
Before We Worship
“Out of sight, out of mind” is an old and familiar saying. And that for a good reason. We naturally give more attention to what is right in front of us. We only have so many hours in a day. By the time we have answered all the urgent demands of those things before us, we hardly have any time or the energy left over to think about anything else. Thus, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Our spiritual life is no exception. Sin and pain and sorrow are always right before our eyes. We can never forget them even if we try. In the mean time the thoughts of God, grace, and heaven are not as near, and, we get fixated only on the difficulties of the life. That is why the Songs of Ascents include, certainly the psalms that honestly look at the difficulties of our pilgrimage, but also a psalm like 128 where the distant things are brought near and to the forefront.
Psalm 128 speaks of the blessings of those who fear the LORD and make their pilgrimage. “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.” It then goes to detail the blessings in a culturally typical way. “You will eat the fruit of your labor…Your wife will be like a fruitful vine…your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.” A successful job, a happy wife, and healthy children are what people then (and now) thought of as blessing, and are here expressed as such. Psalm 128 reminds us that our difficult pilgrimage will lead to a great blessing. It thus brings to the forefront what is currently out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. It says to us, “Endure. Keep on. It will be worth it!”
Scripture almost invariably uses earthly images to describe heaven. For example, the book of Revelation tells us heaven is full of precious stones and gold. But precious stones and gold are valuable in this world because, first, not everyone has them, and second, they give us purchase power. So of what use, and worth, are they in heaven, where no one will be poor or have need, and nothing will be bought and sold? Yet if God were to describe the true riches and glory of heaven as they really are, could we even understand them? Of course not. We cannot envision what we have not seen, or desire something when we do not understand their value. So God does something sensible. He describes heaven’s riches and glory in terms we can all understand, much like how the earthly palaces are full of gems and gold. Thus by the means of earthly riches we can understand heavenly riches.
Psalm 128 does the same for us. It does not mean that the single person who never married, or those who never had children, or those whose work is difficult, are not blessed. It is rather describing to us, using earthly language, to stir up our hope for the blessings that will be ours in God’s house when our pilgrimage is over. This is how we keep on. The end of our pilgrimage is blessing, indeed. All that a happy family and a good job can merely hint at will be truly and really ours. Keep on, then. And look forward to joy.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 128 (Trinity Hymnal p. 832)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #345 “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
1 Timothy 6:20–22 (p. 994)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
8 “This Is Not My Place of Resting”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 18
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 6: (Lord’s Day): The children’s catechism lesson (Qs. 95–96) and the Shorter Catechism lesson (Q. 37) will meet.
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): Come and join us as we discuss “Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography.”
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
May 6: Kelly Rogers
May 13: Liza Beede