PIETAS

Matthew’s Spiritual Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Redeemer Presbyterian Church

The God in the Cave

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This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passers-by, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born. But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a Cave-Man, and had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously coloured, upon the wall of the world; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end, has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. It is at least like a jest in this, that it is something which the scientific critic cannot see. He laboriously explains the difficulty which we have always defiantly and almost derisively exaggerated; and mildly condemns as improbable something that we have almost madly exalted as incredible; as something that would be much too good to be true, except that it is true. …

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Written by Matthew

December 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

What Child Is This

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Written by Matthew

December 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Love Divine

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Charles Wesley

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast;
Let us all in thee inherit, let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning; Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning, set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver, let us all thy life receive;
Suddenly return, and never, never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray and praise thee without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.

Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory, into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Words: Charles Wesley, 1747
Music: John Zundel, 1870
Other Info: midi

Sung at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on October 26

Written by Matthew

November 17, 2008 at 10:46 pm

An Inversion

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God’s invasion of the world has wrought an inversion: God has reversed the positions of insiders and outsiders. Those who are in positions of authority and privilege reject Jesus and the message; even Jesus’ own disciples are slow to understand his teaching. Others, however—people of low or despised position in the social world of first-century Jewish culture—receive the gospel gladly. The lepers, the demon-possessed, the woman with a hemorrhage, the Syrophonecian woman, the little children, blind Bartimaeus, the nameless woman who anoints Jesus at Bethany for burial, the Gentile centurion at the cross—these are examples put forth by Mark of faithful response to Jesus. “Many who are the first will be the last, and the last will be first.” Those of us who are familiar with the story should not underestimate the shock of this inversion.

By Richard Hays, as quoted in the worship program (in pdf) at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 9

Written by Matthew

November 15, 2008 at 11:41 pm

The Church’s One Foundation

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The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the Word:
from heav’n he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.

Elect from ev’ry nation yet one o’er all the earth;
her charter of salvation one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.

‘Mid toil and tribultion and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation of peace forever more;
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union with God, the Three-in-One,
and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won;
O happy ones and holy, Lord give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with thee.

Words: Samuel J. Stone, 1866
Music: Samuel S. Wesley, 1864
Other Info: hymn details, sheet music and mp3

Sung at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 9

Written by Matthew

November 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

To Be Remembered By A Meal

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Of all the means by which Jesus could have chosen to be remembered, he chose to be remembered by a meal…. The meal, one of humankind’s most basic and common practices, was transformed by Jesus into an occasion of divine encounter. It was in the sharing of food and drink that he invited his companions to share in the grace of God.

By C.T. McMahon, as quoted in the worship program (in pdf) at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on November 2

Written by Matthew

November 9, 2008 at 5:41 pm

NYT: Finding Jesus on Facebook

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Saturday’s New York Times has an article about churches using up-to-date technology to cater to the younger generation. It mentions Redeemer Presbyterian Church and its Beta Groups, one of which Susan and I are leading this fall.

Redeemer is also bringing the Internet into the chapel. At a Redeemer service on the Upper West Side, a group of college graduates were in the back of the room tapping away on laptops.

They helped newcomers sign up for a “Beta group,” a seven-week fellowship group meeting in different parts of the city. Using a Google map, people could browse by neighborhood, check for a special focus, like all-women or artists-only groups, then sign up by clicking the group they wanted and entering their name and e-mail address.

“You know when you say ‘Sign up at home’ that people will forget between the church and their PC,” said Aaron Bjerke, an intern for Redeemer who was helping people sign up. “This takes care of it right away.”

And, Aaron Bjerke is none other than my fellowship group coach. A really nice guy. Congrats, Aaron!

Written by Matthew

October 26, 2008 at 10:09 pm