Psalm 118

In this season of Epiphany, where we celebrate that Jesus has come, read Psalm 118, and ask yourself, “What difference does this make to me?”

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let Israel say: His love endures forever. 3 Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever. 4 Let those who fear the Lord say: His love endures forever. 5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. 6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: The Lords right hand has done mighty things! 16 The Lords right hand is lifted high; the Lords right hand has done mighty things! 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. 18 The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25  Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

For me, the point of this Psalm is simple. The Lord is victorious, and for us. He is the source of deliverance. Yet in the midst of this WE (like those in the passage) may feel surrounded by enemies, enemies of uncertainty, enemies of fear. We may even feel defeated, hopeless. 

A Psalm like this speaks to the reality at play. When we are worrying and concerned about the things around us, our brains go to places, and create scenarios that are not healthy. But, the reality is that the places my brain goes in the face of uncertainty are not reality. They are not the end and conclusion of the matter. What is true and life giving is the truth of Epiphany, the truth that our messiah has come. He is here, with us, among us. He is strong and capable, and we can trust in messiah to defeat our foes. We can trust that He will diffuse the cloud of uncertainty and bring us home to wholeness.

This is life giving because we can have faith that our hardships and fear are not the end. Even if we are facing decline in our lives, or even death, that is not the end. Because of Jesus, we will be made whole. Because Jesus rose to life, after His crucifixion, we will follow Him into wholeness and life eternal, as we confess Him as Lord. Because of Jesus, the clouds of uncertainty are not the ultimate reality. Because of Jesus our hardships and fear are not the conclusion and end. We can trust that He will diffuse the cloud of uncertainty and bring us home to wholeness. The Lord is victorious, and He is with us.

Table Worship Sunday, January 25, 5:30pm at the Fairhaven Library Basement

Join us this Sunday, for The Table’s worship gathering this Sunday, January 11 at the Fairhaven Library basement (1117 12th St.). Starting at 5:30pm, we will begin with a shared meal, so bring something to share if you are able (otherwise just show up, there’s always enough). After the meal, we will continue our study of the prophetic Psalms of Jesus. This week we’ll be studying Psalm 118, asking “What does this Psalm teach us about Jesus, the messiah?” Invite a neighbor or friend; everyone is welcome!

What is Church?

A question I ask every now and then is, “What is Church?” What are the elements that make a church a church, and not something else? Our denomination ascribes to several confessions and state that the “marks” of the church are: the preaching the word, the administration of the sacraments, and the practice of discipline/discipleship. If these are present, you have yourself a church. A text I often think of when pondering this question is Acts 2:42-47. It’s a text where we get a snapshot of life in the early church. Read it and see if you notice the different aspects that made the church the church at that time.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Verse 42 speaks of 4 practices of the early church:

1. Devotion to the Apostles teaching. For us today this might be a devotion to God’s word seen in the Bible.

2. Fellowship. This is a focus on gathering together as a community of believers.

3. Breaking bread. Breaking bread could mean 2 things: participating in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and/or simply sharing food together.

4. Prayer. This is the community’s focus on being in relationship with God.

I am encouraged as I reflect on these things. God desires for His people to be in community, to be growing in Him, and to be a blessing. At The Table we see the 3 marks of the church, and the 4 practices of the early church. God is good. My prayer is that God will grows us in each of these marks and practices.

Table Blessing Saturday (1/17) and Worship Sunday (1/18)

prayerThe Table has 2 gatherings planned this weekend.
On Saturday, we are meeting at 10am at the Firehouse (1314 Harris Ave). From there we’ll head out and post Table postcards around the area, while praying for the new year and the needs/outreach of the neighborhood.
On Sunday, The Table is gathering for a worship gathering at the Fairhaven Library (1117 12th St.). We’ll begin at 5:30pm with a shared meal. Bring something to share if you are able, otherwise just show up (there’s always enough). We are continuing our study of the Prophetic Psalm of Jesus, by looking at Psalm 89 and 107. Read these before church, if you want some homework.
The Table Bible study is this Monday at 6:45pm at Ray and Cheri’s.
Everyone is welcome to all of these gatherings. Invite a friend, and let me know if you would like more info. See you soon!

The Table is Now Worshipping Every Week!

The Table will now be worshipping every week. We will continue to have monthly Blessing gatherings, but will plan on worship every Sunday. Our worship gathering take place at the Fairhaven library (1117 12th St.).

This Saturday, we will be gathering for prayer walk of the neighborhood. Meet at the Firehouse PAC at 10am, and we’ll go from there.

If you are interested in joining us for a Bible study, meeting every other Monday evening, please contact us. 

Everyone is welcome to any of these gatherings. Be blessed, and we hope to see you soon!

Table Worship Sunday, January 11, 5:30pm at the Fairhaven Library Basement

a-simple-dinnerJoin us this Sunday, for The Table’s worship gathering this Sunday, January 11 at the Fairhaven Library basement (1117 12th St.). Starting at 5:30pm, we will begin with a shared meal, so bring something to share if you are able (otherwise just show up, there’s always enough). After the meal, we will continue our study of the prophetic Psalms of Jesus. This week we’ll be studying Psalm 2, asking “What does this Psalm teach us about Jesus, the messiah?” Invite a neighbor or friend; everyone is welcome!

Epiphany Sermon – Psalm 72

wise-menThe Feast of Epiphany

Today is our first worship gathering of the New Year. New Years always feels like a new beginning. Many of us are making New Years resolutions, using the calendar to mark the day when changes will be made. The new calendar gives us a feeling of new beginnings. The church calendar is different than the one on your walls or in your phones. The New Year for the church calendar starts on the 1st week of advent, where we await the coming of Jesus. This is followed by a couple weeks of Christmas. And today on the church calendar marks the beginning of a new season.

Today on the church calendar is the feast of Epiphany, where we commemorate Jesus 1st showing Himself to the gentiles, represented by the Magi. Epiphany is also a season in the church calendar where, in general, we celebrate the arrival of Jesus. Matthew 2, tells us that “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” It tells us how they found Jesus is a house w/ His mother. They bowed down and worshipped Him, bringing Him gifts. This event happens perhaps a couple of years after Jesus’ birth, and it shows us that Jesus is king of ALL people, and worthy of our worship.

In the season of Epiphany we celebrate that the king has come. And so, over the next 7 weeks of Epiphany we are going to do this by studying the prophetic Psalms of Jesus. These are Psalms that, when written, pointed to the coming messiah. They are Psalms that give us a picture of who Jesus is and how He will rule His kingdom. We will be asking ourselves, “what do these Psalms and prayers teach us about Jesus?”

 

Psalm 72

The traditional Psalm for the feast of Epiphany is Psalm 72. You can turn your Bibles to Psalm 72. Before this Psalm begins, we are told that it is a Psalm of King Solomon. But many scholars believe that this Psalm was penned by Solomon, but the words are actually King David’s. John Calvin, and many others, believed that King David on his deathbed prays for his son, Solomon, and the reign of his dynasty (which was fully realized in Jesus). Calvin believed that Solomon authored the Psalm, but that it was the reduced prayer of David, meaning this was Davids last prayer. If we agree w/ this, we can say that David prays for the prosperity of the kingdom promised him, for its legacy and dynasty. With that in mind, read Psalm 72 and ask yourself, what is said of the king, and ultimately the messiah, Jesus.

1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. 2 May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. 3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. 4 May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. 5 May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. 6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. 7 In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more. 8 May he rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust. 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. 11 May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him. 12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. 13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. 14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. 15 Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. 16 May grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. May the crops flourish like Lebanon and thrive like the grass of the field. 17 May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. Then all nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. 18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. 19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.

In this Psalm there is some trouble implied. If you read closely, you will notice that the world does not seem as it should be. There are poor, needy, oppressed, weak, and victims of violence. Why else would David pray these words if these folks were not present? The same trouble implied in the text is very present in our world. The trouble for us is that our world is not as it should be either, w/ fear and oppression present. So if this is true, then why is this Psalm good news for its readers? What is the good news of this Psalm, and what is said about the King, and the messiah? What is the good news of the text? The good news is that the king will rescue the weak.

 

Implications 

Why is this good news to the readers of this Psalm? It is good news b/c all too often we feel stuck. The oppressions, addictions, unhealthiness, and fears we live with seem to dominate us. And so, we make promises to ourselves each New Year about how we will change, but we are weak. The news that the king will rescue the weak is good news b/c all too often we look at the news or events around us and feel like we are powerless to do anything. We often live like the king is dead, or inaccessible. So the news that the king will rescue the weak is good b/c we know that the unpleasant realities we live in and see are not the end of our story. We are not stuck. Our addictions, fears, and unhealthiness do not define us, b/c our identity resides in identity of the king. When God looks up you, He does not see the messiness that we often see. He sees that you are in the company of the righteous king. That b/c you have been rescued, and will be rescued further, you are holy, free, clean and welcome to reside w/ God.

The good news is that to King has come and is rescuing the weak. Jesus is our expected king. He is messiah. He rules w/ power and compassion. And b/c He paid the ultimate price for our wrongdoings, and then rose to life again, we have access to Him. The king is not dead, but very much alive. The king is not guarded in some inaccessible tower, but rather walks among us, healing, conquering evil, and bringing redemption. Jesus is our King, who is w/ us, and in the season of Epiphany we celebrate that He has come.

From this Psalm we learn that b/c we have access to Jesus, the king who rescues, we can pray w/ confidence and expectation that He is making things right. I love how the New living Translation reads v.14. It says: He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. The truth is that you are precious to Jesus. He loves you, and is fighting for you. We can know Him, and be known by Him. So may we live in the reality that He is our king, our messiah.

Amen.

Table Worship at the Fairhaven Library Basement, Sunday, Jan. 4th 5:30pm

jesus1Join us this Sunday, January 4th, as we kick off 2015 with a worship gathering. We’ll begin at 5:30pm at the Fairhaven Library (1117 12th St.), with a shared meal. Bring something awesome to share if you’re able. Otherwise just show up, there’s always enough. From there, we’ll begin our new series on the Psalms of Jesus, studying Psalms that point to Jesus. Invite a friend, everyone is welcome. We look forward to seeing you soon!

No Table Gathering, Dec. 28th

hope3Happy New Year!

The Table will not be gathering this weekend. Enjoy the weekend with friends and family. Join us January 4th at the Fairhaven Library for our next worship gathering.

Missional Advent Calendar -Week 4

pray.2In this season of anticipating the birth of Christ, may God bless you and your family with active hands and open eyes that see, live, and fully know the reason for the season.*

 

Mon., Dec. 22: Give $ to a local non-profit

Tues., Dec. 23: Call an old friend

Wed., Dec. 24: Read and meditate on John 10:10 today and consider where you see the fullness of God around you

Thurs., Dec. 25: Pray for peace

 

* Inspired by House for All Sinners and Saints’ – www.houseforall.org

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