Amazing to consider

 
Those who were at the October 2021 Presbytery meeting might recognize this verse from Isaiah 40:26, which I posted in the chat to encourage us.
 


Call to Worship

(inspired by Psalm 147)

Celebrate God’s grace!
How comforting it is to know God always accompanies us.
Approach God in awe!
How amazing it is to consider that God has created each of us
      and each star in the heavens.
Praise the living God!
How good it is to sing praises together.

~ written by Ana Gobledale, and posted on Worship Words.
 


 
The story behind the card

I made this card towards the end of a two-week stay at Dutch L’Abri, returning home in time for our October 2021 Presbytery meeting (via zoom). This card is one of a whole pile of cards I made on my last full day at L’Abri, to give away to the staff and guests. I took photographs of all the cards I made, but I only kept this one, and happened to have it on me during our Presbytery meeting, tucked into a notebook.

In our discussions around the future of our Presbytery and the different charges, it seemed a timely reminder, worth sharing: If not one of the stars is missing because of God’s great power and mighty strength, surely we can trust ourselves and our congregations to God’s care and sovereignty too.
 

Fools for Christ


Spotted on a canal tour in Paris  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Call to Worship

We come into the presence of a God
we can neither see nor touch,
yet a God we can sense.
We are fools for Christ’s sake.

We come in the name of Jesus,
whose beauty we cannot explain or capture,
but know intimately.
We are fools for Christ’s sake.

We come to hear from a book,
words and stories that are ancient, and yet ever new.
We are fools for Christ’s sake.

We live in a world whose economy is based on keeping,
yet in this place we are invited to give.
We are fools for Christ’s sake.

We come, leaving behind all the business of our lives—.
all the other important things we could be doing.
We come here to worship.
We are fools for Christ’s sake.

 
~ from the United Church of Canada’s Bay of Quinte Conference website,
posted on re:worship
 

Sing a new song

 

– keep on singing –

 

Go ahead — sing your new song to the Lord! Let everyone in every language sing him a new song. Don’t stop! Keep on singing! Make his name famous! Tell everyone every day how wonderful he is. Give them the good news of our great Saviour. Take the message of his glory and miracles to every nation. Tell them about all the amazing things he has done.

 


Call to Worship

based on Psalm 149  (The Message)

Hallelujah!
Sing to God a brand-new song!
Praise God in the company of those who love Him!
Let God’s people celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
and praise His name with music and dance!
For God is here among us,
and He delights to hear our praise!

 
source: re:worship
 


Extra
Sing a New Song ~ by David Mathis
5 Ways to Teach a New Song ~ by Gary Durbin
Scripture-in-song as genre ~ by me
 

Hear creation singing


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Isaiah 35:1-10)

Listen–all creation rejoices, can you hear it?
There is so much noise and chatter, are you sure there is music?
Listen–the wilderness and desert are breaking out in song, can you hear it?
It’s been so long since we’ve heard a melody of praise.
Listen–the crocus blooms with joyful singing,
      the very mountains join in the refrain. Can you hear it?
We join our voices in hope,
      worshipping our God who brings forth a new song in the world.

Opening Prayer

Life-giving God, we are a blessed people.
In this moment of worship we pray that you might bless us anew.
Give us ears to hear the melodies of praise that fill the world around us.
And as we hear the songs,
      teach us to sing,
      to dance with abandon,
      to rejoice in the wonders of your grace.
Forgive us when we have passed by signs of your mercy.
From this moment forward,
      open our eyes to the places where joy is springing
      up from parched ground.
Lead us by your Spirit in the pathways of your overflowing
      peace, hope, and joy.
Amen.

 
~ written by Rev. Nancy J.
posted on wonderings, writings and scribbles
 


From the blog
Theme: Part of creation [prayer sheet]
Bright and beautiful
A prayer to the God of summer
 

Break into song

Wake up! Wake up! Break out in song (Judges 5:12, NIV)
Wake up! Wake up! Break out in song (Judges 5:12, NIV)  (Artwork: Irene Bom)
 

Call to Worship

May none of God’s wonderful works keep silence,
night or morning.

Bright stars,
high mountains,
the depths of the seas,
sources of rushing rivers;
may all these break into song
as we sing to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May all the angels in the heavens reply
Amen! Amen! Amen!

Power, praise, honour, eternal glory to God,
the only giver of grace.

Amen! Amen! Amen!

 
~ anonymous, written sometime during the 3rd to 6th century.
Originally a hymn. Posted on re:worship
 


From the blog
Sister moon
In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama
Circling the globe
 

Sacrifice of praise


 

Lent is almost upon us, but not quite yet, so I’ve opted for a call to worship featuring sacrifice with a twist: a sacrifice of praise for our matchless God.


Call to Worship

based on Psalm 113

King of all the earth,
Creator of the universe,
Holy Triune God,
From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.

We will give thanks to you, O Lord, with our whole hearts,
for your glory is above the heavens;
From the rising of the sun to it setting,
we will praise the name of the Lord!

You raise the poor from the dust and lift the needy from the ash heap,
transforming them with glory and honor;
From the rising of the sun to it setting,
we will praise the name of the Lord!

You bring fruitfulness from barrenness
and give homes to the solitary;
From the rising of the sun to it setting,
we will praise the name of the Lord!

Who is like our God, the One
who looks down from the heights on the heavens on the earth?
From the rising of the sun to it setting,
we will praise the name of the Lord!

This is our God, the Holy One.
Come before him with thanksgiving
and offer him the sacrifice of praise.
 

~ excerpted from a longer prayer posted on Oratio Contemplativa.
 


 
From the blog
To dance with God
Mightier than the crashing waves
Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always  [prayer sheet]
 

To dance with God

 

For this fourth and final post on the theme of DANCE I’ve found a story that overlaps with my chosen theme for December: CHILD.

The story is taken from the opening chapter of Gertrud Mueller Nelson‘s book, To Dance with God (1986).

Some years ago, I spent an afternoon caught up in a piece of sewing I was doing. The waste basket near my sewing machine was filled with scraps of fabric cut away from my project. This basket of discards was a fascination to my daughter Annika, who, at the time, was not yet four years old. She rooted through the scraps searching out the long bright strips, collected them to herself, and went off. When I took a moment to check on her, I tracked her whereabouts to the back garden where I found her sitting in the grass with a long pole. She was affixing the scraps to the top of the pole with great sticky wads of tape. “I’m making a banner for a procession,” she said. “I need a procession so that God will come down and dance with us.” With that she solemnly lifted her banner to flutter in the wind and slowly began to dance.

My three year old was not a particularly precocious toddler. I think, rather, that she was doing what three year olds do when left to their natural and intuitive religious sense and I was simply fortunate to hear and see what she was about. Mothers are often anthropologists of sorts and their children the exotic primitives that also happen to be under foot. This little primitive allowed me to witness a holy moment and I learned all over again how strong and real is that sense of wonder that children have – how innate and easy their way with the sacred. Here, religion was child’s play. And of course I had to wonder what happens in our development that as adults we became a serious folk, uneasy in our relationship with God, out of touch with the mysteries we knew in childhood, restless, empty, searching to regain a sense of awe and a way to “dance with God.”

 


Call to worship

The people of God were made for worship:
To sing and to praise, to laugh and to dance.
The people of God were made for God’s presence:
For pleasure and praise, for joy and for song.
Come, holy people, God’s chosen disciples:
Gather for worship, come from all places!
We have come to God’s temple, gathered together,
We have come to praise God and enjoy him forever.

~ from jesusscribbles
 

Quiet / rest


 
 
In Mark 6:31 we read how Jesus, at the end of a busy day, ministered to his disciples’ need for rest and restoration, saying:

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Are you in need of some rest and restoration yourself? Hear Jesus speak these words to you, and follow his lead.


Call to Worship

(based on Matthew 11:28-30)

Come, all that are weary, all that are carrying burdens so heavy
Jesus will give us rest
Come, take what Jesus has to offer: love, forgiveness, and grace
Christ will give us peace
Come, find rest, and learn from Jesus
For our Savior will give us rest in our souls
Come, let us worship our God
Let us follow our Savior, who leads us into life.
 
 
~ written by Rev. Mindi, and posted on Rev-o-lution.
 

Come rest


Bergsingel, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Recently I took some friends from Presbytery for a walk around my neighbourhood and we passed this very spot. It’s on the way to my current favourite hangout – two park benches where you can catch the evening sun and enjoy the water and wild life.

I hope you have your own favourite hangout where you can catch your breath and marvel at the signs of life all around you and maybe say ‘Hi!’ to the people passing by.


Call to Worship

inspired by Isaiah 55 : 1-3

Come to the water, all you who thirst —
come drink deeply from the river of life.

Come to the water, all you who are weary —
come rest in the quiet pools of God’s love.

Come to the water, all you who long for justice —
come be renewed in God’s ever-flowing stream.

For God is here among us,
washing away the dust and grime of our lives,
and pouring out the Spirit on all who thirst.
Let’s worship God together.

 
~ Christine Longhurst, posted on re:worship
 


From the blog
Leaving the desert behind
Sabbath rest
When hot and bothered
 

Re-turn


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Call to Worship

based on Joel 2:12-13

“Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.
Rend your hearts, and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and filled with compassion and love.
 

source: re:worship
 


 
Going deeper
The book of Joel from a millenial perspective