Mid-summer, and with the help of the psalms we continue to explore God’s promises and sing God’s praise. This morning we arrive at Psalm 46. At the conclusion of the sermon we will hear the Scottish metrical version ‘God is our refuge and our strength’ and we shall conclude the service with Luther’s great hymn ‘A mighty fortress is our God’. Join us! As we read Psalm 46 together, what dimension will be used by the Spirit to speak most deeply to you? ‘Therefore we will not fear’ or ‘God is in the midst of the city’ or ‘He breaks the bow and shatters the spear’ or ‘Be still and know that I am God!’ This is the first of the songs of Zion, and one thing is certain – the focus is not upon a place but rather a presence …
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city;
it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar,
the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Marc Chagall 1887 – 1985
Psalm 124 ‘We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers’
Musée national Message biblique Marc Chagall, Nice
We begin every week gathering together before God, seeking guidance and healing, celebrating grace and beauty. And these weeks of summer we are exploring the psalms, the words God has given us to voice to our innermost thoughts and emotions and speak our souls to God.
This morning we join in a celebration of freedom – Psalm 124.
How have you experienced freedom? How do you express your gratitude for freedom?
What might be the particular Christian dimensions of freedom promised and freedom lived?
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive
when their anger was kindled against us;
the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us,
then over us would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Join us in the worship of God!
During these days preceding Sunday, join also in …
Sounds at St. Andrew’s: Thursday July 24, 7 p.m. Avi Jacobs (on the lawn, organised by the City of Kingston)
An Evening at the Films: Friday July 25, 6:55 p.m. at the Screening Room to see the Australian film ‘Tracks’ and then a time of discussion at the Minister’s home nearby on Ordnance Street. (http://www.moviesinkingston.com/films/tracks.html)
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Our lives are never static. We are always on the move, sometimes physically, always emotionally and spiritually. We may long for the security of routine and the comfort of the planned, but we know that human life is defined by movement, and that growth often comes during times of change and challenge.
The psalms accompany us as we move through life, providing opportunities to acknowledge and articulate our innermost thoughts and deepest feelings. This morning we continue our journey (through life and the psalms) and consider the movement from abandonment to embrace, from depths to deliverance.
The psalmist declares that hard times are real and even to be expected, but they do not ultimately define us – the grace and care of God provides the larger framework for human life. The sermon will conclude with a rendition of the metrical Scottish paraphrase of Psalm 30 – ‘Come let us to the Lord our God with contrite hearts return; our God is gracious nor will leave the desolate to mourn’.
‘Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning’. It is not a statement of wishful thinking but of experience.
These weeks of summer we consider the psalms, the words God has given us to voice to our innermost thoughts and emotions and speak our souls to God.
This morning we turn to Psalm 130, often called De Profundis, because of its first words in the long-used Latin translation … ‘Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord’. We will read the psalm together, we will explore it in the sermon, we will hear it sung in poetry from the Scottish psalter.
It is good to be given permission to feel overwhelmed and to cry, especially within the frameworks of faith. It is good also to turn to God, who can lift us out from the depths. Join us for an hour of honesty and of hope.
Our worship will include hymns as varied as ‘Will your anchor hold?’ and ‘He leadeth me’. Join us!
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Come early and before the service enjoy the piping of Kirsten and Gordon Stewart out on the lawn at the corner of Princess and Clergy!
These weeks of summer we will explore several psalms of scripture, and hear them set to music in the beautiful metrical paraphrases of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition. The psalms are provided to us by God for us to use when words fail us with God, the psalms have shaped generations of God’s people, the psalms articulate every circumstance and emotion of human life and lift them into the hands of God for guidance, the psalms are our songs of life.
We begin this Sunday with Psalm 36, a song of praise: join us!
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgements are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart! Psalm 36:5-10
Canada Day Weekend
Join us as we gather to lift up prayers of thanksgiving (for the blessing of living in a land of such beauty and a society of such diversity) and of intercession (for all who lead and serve us for the common good, for compassion and justice to embrace all). We will hear an exhortation of humility (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ‘When the Lord your God has brought you into the land … take care that you do not forget the Lord’). And we will sing a great Canadian as well as Christian hymn, ‘From ocean unto ocean, our land shall own thee Lord, and filled with true devotion, obey your sovereign word’.
A Strawberry Social!
Our special guest will be Ottawa Valley’s best selling author, journalist and storyteller, Mary Cook. The afternoon will include a set by fiddler Lloyd Wilson of Barriefield and friends. Tickets are at cost, $5, with an envelope for donations to Home Base Housing. Call the Church Office for information, 613-546-6316.
From all that dwell below the skies, let the Creator’s praise arise!
This morning we will be gathering under the skies for a summer outdoor service at the corner of Princess and Clergy! Surrounded by the trees of the lawn, we shall reflect upon some of the trees of scripture – of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:4b-9), of the cross (1 Peter 2:23-25) and of the Holy City (Revelation 22:1-5). Our Director of Music will be accompanying us with a harmonium, and we will be singing ‘Morning has broken’, ‘I come to the garden’, ‘Shall we gather at the river’ and other great hymns.
All welcome. Bring a lawn chair if you can. And be sure to stay for the congregational BBQ afterwards!
We will gather to lift up praise to God for the goodness of creation, for life in body and spirit, and for the promise of new beginnings known in Jesus Christ. This morning we will focus on two scriptural texts that speak about the imperative of reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-26 in which Christians are told to take the initiative in seeking forgiveness, and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 in which we are reminded that reconciliation is God’s ministry, hence also ours). And on the twentieth anniversary of its adoption, we will read again the Confession of the Presbyterian Church in Canada – ‘It is with humility and in great sorrow that we come before God and our Aboriginal brothers and sisters with our confession …’ – with a commitment to resetting this relationship that is at the core of our life as Christians and Canadians.
A Drum Circle at the Edmonton Truth and Reconciliation Events March 2014
Resources available from the Presbyterian Church http://presbyterian.ca/healing/
‘It matters to me’ video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw3zhZMFtpw
A video of the Edmonton Truth and Reconciliation March 2014 event http://vimeo.com/91343733