Friday, July 14, 2017

Worship Preparation Guide for Sunday, July 16

Worship Preparation Guide for Sunday, July 16
Sermon Text: Isaiah 62

This week’s worship preparation guide is simple and straightforward.  It contains scriptural text and the text of an old hymn. 

As you pray and prepare for worship this Sunday, I would ask you to read Isaiah 62.  As you do, understand that the words you read are coming from Jesus and they describe his zeal and love for his church.  In Isaiah 62 you hear Jesus say, ‘I will not stop praying and working until you are radiant and glorious.’  We hear him say “I delight in you and rejoice over you.’  We hear him say ‘I will always protect you.’  We hear his say, ‘this is who you are: “Holy”, “Redeemed”, “Sought Out”, “Not Forsaken”. 

“For Zion’s sake” is a description of the passion and vision Jesus has for his church.  “For Zion’s sake” is also an invitation for us to share this vision and passion.  “For Zion’s sake” is an invitation for us to pray, serve, give and go with a passion that stands in sharp contrast to a “me-first”, church-hopping, go-to-church-if-there’s-nothing-else-to-do kind of church involvement.  Isaiah 62 describes the zeal and delight Jesus has for his church.  He wants us share in this zeal and delight.

As you prepare for worship consider what Ray Ortland wrote concerning Isaiah 62 in his commentary on Isaiah: Maybe you need to re-embrace Christ by re-embracing his church.  If your relationship with your church is ambiguous and sporadic and subject to convenience, the problem is not in your relationship with your church.  Your problem is your relationship with Christ.” 

Sharing Jesus’ zeal and delight for the church is what Timothy Dwight describes when he wrote the lyrics to I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord.  Timothy Dwight was the president of Yale and a leader in the Second Great Awakening.  Read and listen to these lyrics.

I love thy kingdom, Lord, 
the house of thine abode,
the church our blest Redeemer saved 
with his own precious blood.

I love thy church, O God. 
Her walls before thee stand,
Dear as the apple of thine eye, 
and graven on thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall; 
for her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be given, 
till toils and cares shall end.

Beyond my highest joy 
I prize her heavenly ways:
Her sweet communion, solemn vows, 
her hymns of love and praise.

Sure as thy truth shall last, 
to Zion shall be given
the brightest glories earth can yield, a
nd brighter bliss of heaven.

I am praying for you and I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday. 

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