Sunday, August 13, 2017

firstpr0 FPCU Worship

Worship – 9:30 a.m.
Childcare is available for infants through preschool age, downstairs in Rooms 4 and 5.
ReVision Mission Study Session Three – 11:00 a.m.

From the Pastor/Head of Staff

Rescue of Peter by Yongsung Kim

Art has the power to reveal perspectives on experience we might never have imagined. Like the image that will be on our bulletin cover on Sunday. “Save Me – The Hand of God” was created by Yongsung Kim. On his website he writes, “Rather than the world’s standard of a heavy and grim depiction of Jesus Christ, I seek to work with that which is easy to understand, that which resonates with the sympathies and emotions we feel. Rather than complex or difficult art, I focus on a bright, righteous, and beautiful idea of Christ, utilizing portrayals of familiar scenes of nature to help it enter the heart of the observer.” Kim captures all of that in this painting. Join us on Sunday, as we hear and reflect on this passage in Matthew’s Gospel, and come to understand what Matthew was trying to convey in this beautiful story.

Blessings, David

The Lord’s Prayer in Sunday Worship

Ever wonder why the different parts of Sunday worship happen where they do in the order? Many of us do. Take the Lord’s Prayer. We recite it each Sunday because it has been of central importance to disciples from at least the second century. When new converts were welcomed into the fellowship of the church, they were given specific gifts. First, a white robe to symbolize the forgiveness of their sins and their new life in Christ. Second, the baptismal creed, which eventually became the Apostles’ Creed. The new disciples memorized it and explored its meaning with wise teachers. Third, the Lord’s Prayer, which new disciples also memorized and contemplated with instruction. The creed and the Lord’s Prayer were thought of like tangible things which were handed on to the new disciples. Once in the heart and the mind, the creed and the Lord’s Prayer could be relied on whenever, and wherever, needed.

We say the Lord’s Prayer where we do in the order of service because it has long been connected to the Eucharist. After the prayers of the people, we make our offering, and along with our financial gifts, our offering of bread and cup are brought forward and placed on the Table. Just as we do in our own homes, once the Table is set, we give thanks. At this Table, however, we experience the grace of God in an exceptional way, and that is why this prayer is called the Great Thanksgiving. The Great Thanksgiving is followed by the Lord’s Prayer, which makes perfect sense given that the third sentence of the prayer is “Give us this day our daily bread…” The Lord’s Prayer is followed by the Fraction where the pastor breaks the bread and pours the cup and invites the faithful to receive the elements. “The gifts of God for the people of God.”

Three (or four) Sundays of the month we do not celebrate communion, yet we still recite the Lord’s Prayer. On those Sundays, the prayer follows the offering, the bringing forward of our gifts, and the prayer of thanksgiving (or dedication). That these parts of the service remain every Sunday, they remind us that something is missing when we do not celebrate communion. Acts 2:42 suggests that those first disciples celebrated communion every Lord’s Day, and the historical record suggests that weekly Eucharist continued for 500 or 600 years. The Reformers, including Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer and John Calvin, wanted to recover the practice of weekly communion. Due to the patient work of the Ecumenical Movement, more and more of our Presbyterian churches are completing this aspect of the work of the Reformation. Until it is completed, reciting the Lord’s Prayer where we do in the service reminds us that something is missing, which may then provoke another question. Why don’t we celebrate communion each week? Now that is a good question!