Welcome to your weekly collection of resources to get you in the frame of mind for worship tomorrow!
We begin with this song from Chris Tomlin singing with Thomas Rhett, God Who Listens:
And this lovely duet by Caleb & Casey, of a mashup of “I raise a Hallelujah” and “Yes I will,”
Brennan Manning is best known for his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel. I love this quote from him:
Tomorrow at Graceview we will read the fourth chapter of Esther. Ministers, generally, know Esther as the only book of the Bible that doesn’t explicitly mention God. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow, but it reminds me that there are times that we experience God in a more subtle way – times when we experience the fingerprints or footsteps of God rather than God’s explicit or obvious presence. So I share this with you because I hear in it the echo of psalms and the implicit presence of God:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep praising the God of our Salvation!
Back in March and April, we were all marveling at how quiet the world had become. Empty streets, no rush hour, fewer flights, people staying home as much as possible – it all contributed to a sometimes eerie sense of quiet. Certainly an unusual quiet in a city like Toronto, where even the “down times” of any given day or week, still see a fair amount of activity.
But these days we seem to be back to a noisy way of life. I’ve certainly noticed increases of traffic, gun violence, political posturing and general activity in the world outside my door. And as the world begins to grow noisier, it’s really easy for all that noise and all that activity to drown out some important things.
I was pleased to see this posted on Facebook by a colleague of mine:
So what does God have to say about you?
God says you are loved. God says you are alive. God says you are a recipient of His grace. God says you are saved.
So until tomorrow, dear friends, find a quiet place to meditate on these things. Shut out the noise of the world around you and trust i the good word God says about you.
These are anxious days. Our COVID-19 case numbers are climbing in Ontario. Many of us are worried about second wave and/or a second shutdown. Most of us have no idea how the ‘normal’ things are going to roll out in the coming months: What will Christmas look like? When will we be able to travel again? What is going to happen to our economy?
It’s easy to worry about all the “what ifs” that surround us right now. It’s easy to fall into an anxiety loop – feeling anxious about what will happen, and that being reinforced by climbing cases and news stories about what is actually happening right now.
So I say this to you (and to me!):
I admit to you that even in reading this, a part of me (that anxious part of me) wants to reject it. My brain goes “but what if, but what if, but what if…” and my heart rate begins to climb and my hands begin to shake. And left to my own devices, I’m kind of a mess.
So I’m deeply grateful that God doesn’t just leave me to my own devices. I’m thankful for the faithful words of Scripture. I’m grateful for prayerful friends. I’m grateful for the late September warmth that has bloomed in the last day or two, allowing for more time outdoors than in previous days.
And you see, just like that, by focusing on the gifts that God gives, my heart rate has slowed back down, my hands are not shaking any more, and I know that one way or another, we will continue to make it through these challenging days.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, please remember that your anxiety is lying to you, that God’s promises are true, that focussing on the gifts he gives – more than we could ask or imagine – is a great way to find peace despite the anxiety of these days.
This week in worship, we turned to the Book of Daniel to see how Daniel’s friends surrounded him with prayer in the midst of a dangerous and impossible situation. This week we are sticking with the simple format of recording the sermon and sharing the hymn of response video here on the blog, but we continue towards developing a fuller online presence of our worship service.
The Hymn of response was, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” by Anthem Lights:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on being a friend who prays, asking your friends to pray, and holding to the purpose of being God’s people in this world.
Here are some lovely resources to help you worship in advance of tomorrow morning (if you are showing up in person) or tomorrow afternoon (if you are continuing with online worship!)
So, I know she’s my friend and I’m biased, but my friend and I’m biased, but the sensitivity with which my friend Shelagh sings #661 We give thee but thine own, brings me such great joy. I hope it does the same for you as we prepare for worship tomorrow:
I have found this a meaningful song since I first encountered it when I was in my 2O’s. Shane and Shane, covering Rich Mullin’s Sometimes By Step:
This might be a bit of a heavy burden for our pastors to carry, but I also thought it was a beautiful call to action for all people of faith, everywhere:
This is a lovely and meaningful thought by worship leader, and recording artist, Chris Tomlin:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on praising God!
You know I love memes. They are quick, pithy, sometimes funny, sometimes deep. Sometimes a combination of both.
A friend sent me this one:
And it made me laugh, but also it gave me a profound sense of relief. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
My friend, The Janet, is fond of telling me that words have power. Whenever I say anything about myself that is framed in a negative way, she gently corrects me. So reading the above, I can hear her voice in my mind, saying, “Be nice to my friend Rebekah! Don’t call her stupid!”
But at the same time, I know that sometimes I just get it wrong. Sometimes I make bad choices. Sometimes I just don’t think it through. I don’t know everything. And in the midst of an unprecedented year, a pandemic and the accompanying brain fog, sometimes I’m just plain lacking in intelligence.
What a gift to know that God already factored that in. He knows our weak spots and our character flaws. He knows the brain fog and lack of band-width we are plagued with, in the midst of this plague.
So the words of scripture, are true (because this is basically what that meme is saying):
Until tomorrow, dear friends – if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it a thousand more – trust in God, He’s got this!