The peace of Christ be with you!
We had such a great crowd today for chapel! Just look at all these wonderful people!
Elder Reajean Grubb opened us in prayer and then our accompanist and worship leader David Hunt played a beautiful prelude. Some of our elders couldn’t help but sing along!
Our call to worship was based on our texts for the day: Genesis 12, Psalm 121, and John 3.
Call to Worship
Come, all who need help!
Our help comes from God,
the one who made heaven and earth.
Come, all who desire blessing!
Our blessing comes from God,
the God of Abraham, the God of the ages.
Come, all who long for salvation!
Our salvation comes from Jesus Christ,
the one sent by God to save the world.
We began our praise with “To God Be the Glory” and what I love about this hymn is the words are wholly about God and His perfect glory. In a sense, the hymn perfectly displaces us, removing us from the pedestal on which we so often place ourselves. We next sang “The Church’s One Foundation” as an affirmation of Christ as the foundation of our faith. Through it we declare that beyond any theological differences, cultural divides, and variances in practice, we are all part of the same body, the body of Christ.
Our old testament lesson was read by elder Opal Phelps and was from Genesis 12:1-4a. This reading was followed by a time of prayer where we prayed for the family of a recently deceased elder, the health of many other elders, the lost, the world, our churches, and our families.
Elder Yvonne Pharris read our lesson from the psalter, Psalm 121.
Our hymn of fellowship was a loud and boisterous rendition of “I Stand Amazed in the Presence.”
And my song shall ever be;
Is my Savior’s love for me!
We all read together John 3:16-17 and then sang “Oh How He Loves You and Me.”
For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
Our homily was based on John 3:1-17, the story of Nicodemus and Jesus.
“God conceives us as Christians and nurtures us in the wombs of our faith, safe and warm and secret. At some point, like any pregnant woman who is close to full term, God gets impatient with gestation and wants to get on with it; God wants to push that baby through the birth canal into greater maturity, into fullness of life, into a faith lived wholly in the world.”
We dismissed by singing together “Softly and Tenderly.” What was so perfect about this hymn is the first stanza and refrain give the picture that Jesus is gently calling, like a mother after her small children – just like the themes we explored in being “born again” and John 3:1-17.
I asked if there was anyone who would pray for us as we dismissed and elder Vivian Bates raised her hand. I made my way back to her and held her hand and gave voice to her prayer.
Again David played a beautiful postlude and we all were blessed in our departing.