The Life and Times- April-2014

April, 2014

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. —Psalm 124:8 (ESV)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Over the course of the year we are examining in this missives, the five elements of worship in our life together.  The first of these elements, being gathered by the Word of God, is the subject of this letter.

Presbyterian worship, as Protestant worship—distinct from worship that is Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or, in most ways, Pentecostal—is characterized by the centrality of the Word of God, especially the Word of God written, the Scriptures.  Scripture undergirds and gives both precedent and warrant for every element of our worship.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that worship begins with Scripture.

Early in my ministry I began worship with a simple sentence of Scripture spoken from the pulpit, much the same as John Calvin did.  Calvin used one verse of one Psalm repeatedly for the gathering of God’s people, namely Psalm 124:8 (cited above).  My practice was more varied, but it left something wanting.  Simply put, the call to worship should be participatory.  In studying the Psalms of Assent (of which 124 is a part), it became clear that these were calls to worship and were meant to be read in a call and response method.  Thus, I began to use Psalms in the call and response method we use in our worship today.

Why do this?  First, our worship begins with Scripture in the mouth of every man, woman and child in the sanctuary.  Second, it reminds us that we are consciously in the presence of the living God.  Finally, it marks out what we are doing together in worship as something different than what we usually do.  In our daily lives we do not often use call and response and so this signals that we are entering into a different environment and time.

The call to worship is followed by the prayer of adoration in which the pastor, on behalf of the people, praises God in prayer and offers up worship to Him for His glory.  Finally, on most Sundays, we sing a hymn.  The singing of hymns is a different way to pray.  The beauty of singing is that God has wired us to remember well what we sing.  Thus, the selection of hymns and music must be a diligent process that will lead to remembering great truths of Scripture and lead us into deeper relationship with God.

When we gather on the Lord’s Day for worship we are immediately reminded by Scripture and prayer that we are in the presence of God (as we always are).  It is the movement of God through the Scripture that gathers us and keeps us in worship.  In our next installment we will look at how the presence of God will lead us to confession of sins.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Pastor Bill

News You Can Use

Second Saturday women’s group will meet Saturday April 12th from 8:30-10:30. We will be having a “de-clutter” auction. Please bring your clutter to the meeting to auction off.

Dinner for Eight is back; sign up forms for this year’s get-togethers are in the narthex or call the church office. The meeting months will be May, June and July.

In celebration of Palm Sunday,  April 13th,please bring a small, clean branch of your choice and join the congregation as we march to the chancel.

The April potluck will be on Sunday, April 13th after worship. Even if you don’t bring a dish you are welcome to come, but please, if able, bring something to share.  We will be having lasagna, A-K bring a salad    L-Z bring a dessert. In place of the potluck in May the elders will be serving dessert on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11th.

A weekly brown-bag Men’s Bible Study is ongoing in the church library. It will begin shortly after noon on Mondays and end at 12:45 pm.

The Easter sunrise service will be Sunday, April 20th from 6:30-7:00 am at the Okanogan Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Please join us on your lunch hour for prayer for evangelism and revival. Prayer will be Wednesday from 12-12:30 pm

A men’s brown bag lunch Bible study will be taking place in the church library every Monday at noon. Please join us!

Session Highlights:

At the March 11th Meeting:

·        A concept for the Memorial Garden was accepted.

·        A new personnel policy was accepted.

·        A motion was accepted to replace the friendship registers with pew welcome cards.

·        February’s giving was $ 20,000.

·        A motion was accepted to raise the Secretary’s hours to allow her to take advantage of EPC insurance options.