Texts: Jeremiah 31:27-34 and Psalm 119:-97-104 or Genesis 32:22-31 and Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8.
Message: “A Song for the Mission”
Psalm 121 was a song the Jewish people loved to sing. It cheered their hearts. It brought encouragement to their souls, and affirmation to their faith. It equipped them for their mission. Throughout the centuries it has come to be known as the “pilgrim’s song (psalm)” the traveler’s psalm, for it was most likely sung by the pilgrims of the faith and their spiritual leader as they made their way, from somewhere in Palestine to the Holy City, Jerusalem, for the celebration of the Passover, which occurred at least once in their lifetime. Today, as disciples of Jesus, we are called to a mission, and our life is a journey of faith in fulfilling that mission to Christ and the Church. These words of encouragement offer us the strength and hope that enable us to fulfill that mission journey to the glory of God, and the welfare of the world Christ loved so much.
“When things like that happen, there are just three things to be said. First, to understand them is impossible. Second, Jesus does not offer us solutions to them. What he does offer us is his strength and help somehow to accept what we cannot understand. Third, the one fatal reaction is the bitter resentment which forever after meets life with a chip on the shoulder and a grudge against God. The one saving reaction is simply to go on living, to go on working, and to find in the presence of Jesus Christ the strength and courage to meet life with steady eyes, and to know the comfort that God too is afflicted in my affliction.” –William Barclay, A Spiritual Autobiography
“Home is the place where when you have to go there, they take you in.” –Robert Frost, Death of a Hired Man
A week’s personal journey into the south rim of the Grand Canyon and out again serves as an effective illustration of the mission of life to which calls us, equips us, and welcomes us.
Fiddler on the Roof, that delightful musical from the 1960’s reminds us of this “Pilgrim Psalm” (song) in which Rev Tevye is in constant dialogue with his God/Redeemer. Here is God, not off in the temple or in the synagogue, but on the threshold of his house, overseeing his “going out and coming in.” That’s how close God was to the psalmist in the song we have come to call #121.
Music: “Almighty Father, Strong to Save,” “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above, “God of Grace and God of Glory,” “The Lord Bless You”
Call to Worship
Leader: I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
People: My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
O Lord, our God, you have promised us that you will not let our foot slip and that you who watch over us will not slumber nor sleep.
Prayer of Confession
Lord, we believe. Help thou our unbelief.
Words of Assurance
The Lord watches over you—
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
Prayer of Thanks
“Thank you for the time you have given me. Thank you for life. Thank you for grace. Thank you for being there, Lord. Thank you for gathering my gifts in your hands to offer them to your Father. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.” Michel Quoist, Prayers
God now gives us the opportunity to give thanks to Him for His gracious leading in our lives; may we be inspired by the grace of His goodness toward us.
O Great Giver of Life, grant that these humble gifts we offer to you for the work of your kingdom may be effective in making disciples of Jesus, our Lord.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Amen