Why did Jesus take his disciples so far north to ask them a couple simple questions? Caesarea Philippi was in pagan territory after all! Let’s take an unofficial tour and see this famous bible story with new eyes…
I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!
-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
Since God is speaking and acting in worship, response to God who speaks and acts is of great importance.
In my response, I am once again saying yes to God. As with the initial response when I first heard the word of God’s love and grace, I again respond to him in faith and love. . . . I respond to God in worship because he makes a difference in my life. . . . My response to God . . . determines my priorities in life. It puts me at peace with God, my neighbor, and my own life.
“Theology is the North Pole and art the South Pole of the Christian Life. Theology is the study of what God does and says; art is what people say and do in the entire context of what God says and does…. You can’t have one without the other…’”
-Eugene Peterson 1932-2018
6 years ago, we lost my son. Since then, we’ve been on a journey through lament (expressing our pain to God), mercy, healing, joy and praise. I think this is the process God wants for all of us. As Psalm 126 says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”
Also, here is a copy of the “Psalm 142 Spoken Word”:
Psalm 142 Spoken Word
Lord, I am crying aloud to you.
Lord, I am lifting my voice
Because I have no choice,
but to cry for mercy.
I am pouring out my heart,
I am pouring out my trouble,
Amidst the rubble
of confusion and complaint.
Now when my spirit is faint inside of me.
It is you who watches my way
Even when evil tries to lay
A snare for my feet.
There is no friend beside me;
Lord, look and see,
no one is concerned for me.
I have no safety for my soul;
It feels like no one cares for my life.
Lord, I am crying out to you.
Lord, you guard my heart
And I know this is all apart
Of living in your loving life.
So listen to my heart’s cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from fears that feed
On my soul, for they are too strong.
Set me free from my prison of pain,
that I may praise your holy name.
that the righteous who came
to comfort me, will praise You…
Because of your goodness,
Because of your goodness,
Because of your goodness, Jesus,
Much of the time, we think about worship in terms of what we do. We sing, we listen, we read, we pray, we give, we serve, we do…do…do…do. But first, worship is our identity in Christ. Let’s talk…
If worship is about ‘ascribing worth’, then it’s easy to see where worship goes wrong. Adam and Eve think what they’ll gain from the fruit is of greater worth than what they have with God…
As sinless image bearers, Adam and Eve were part of creation’s perpetual testimony to the worthiness – the goodness, glory, brilliance and beauty – of God’s handiwork. As soon as they sinned, the broke rank with that testimony, choosing to exalt and serve their own glory.
-Mike Cosper, Rhythms of Grace
In worship our focus is not on self, not on our problems, not on other people or circumstances, but on God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But too often we drag into worship all those everyday life issues that have concerned us over the past week or more. . . .
Our calling is to be present to the action that is taking place, to focus on the moment, to center on the Christ…