For Palm Sunday we invited Reggie Kidd to visit our church to speak on the future-looking aspects of the Lord’s Supper (as part of our Calvin Worship Grant). He spoke with our leadership team on Saturday night, and twice on Sunday morning (Sunday School and Sermon).
During our leadership team dinner we talked about how the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace, and how at the table we become the realized body of Christ and that through this we can encourage and lift those up struggling in their faith.
During the Sunday School time Reggie focused on the Lord’s Supper through Exodus 24, Lev 23, and Revelation 19. Noticing how this chapter and the Psalms share the penultimate biblical phrase of praise “Hallelujah”.
During the sermon he drew out the connections between Genesis 14 and Hebrews 6 & 13 showing how Christ is our high priest that eternally makes intercessions for us so that we can come to the table and be fed by God. He worship both in the midst of us and over us as His people.
All Glory, Laud and Honor (Redeemer-Knoxville arr)
The Lord is King (Nathan Partain arr)
At the Name of Jesus (Jon Gilley arr)
Before the Throne of God (Vicky Cook arr)
What Wondrous Love is This (Sacred Harp Arr with choir)
There is a Redeemer (Keith Green)
His sermon was based in a recent article “Jesus Christ, Our Worship Leader”.
Christ the King celebrated our first Seder Supper last week as part of our community participating in Holy Week. This was inspired by our Worship Renewal Grant from Calvin Institute of Christian Worship where we are exploring what it means to grow in our observance of the Lord’s Supper this year. The Seder Supper is an exploration of the passover meal, and gives people an experiential look into the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples. Along with recounting the passover story we also sang through a portion of the “Hallel” Psalms (113-118) that most scholars attribute as the ‘hymn’ that Jesus sang with this disciples (Matt 26:30). It was great to have the help of the new Psalms for All Seasons with this!
Above you can see a few pictures. Many thanks to Hillyer Christian for letting us use their fellowship hall for free! Thanks as well to our crack leadership team for pulling this whole evening off in fine form (Ellen Beaver, Sarah Lilley, Paul Kilpatrick, Pj Benedict)
Many churches only celebrate communion as a seasonal celebration (once/twice a month, once a quarter, etc). And Easter is often reserved as one of those special Sunday’s where the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated as the ultimate picture of the victory of the cross and our union with Christ!
Last weekend at Christ the King we heard Reggie Kidd unfold for us the Emmaus Road scene in Luke 24. In this passage the resurrected, but veiled Savior opens the entire scriptures for the disciples and taught on all that the Christ had to accomplish…but that it was only AFTER he broke bread that the disciples fully realize who he is!
This scene, among others, establishes the worship of the new testament church around Word and Table as the full proclamation of the Gospel. Here are a few songs that help connect word and table for Easter Sunday. Our prayer being that as we lead our people to the table their eyes would be fully opened to the wonder of our King who continues to lead us, feed us, and intercess for us from the throne in heaven.
Last week PJ and I went up to Grand Rapids to participate in the Worship Grants Colloquium as part of our 2011 grant project “Anamnesis.” Every church that is participating in the Calvin grants program is required to attend this yearly event with the project director and another member of the grant team (Pj is heading up our Scripture Reading team) We spent two days learning about how to implement the grant program in our local church setting, hearing victories and struggles from last years grant recipients and sharing at meals and events with those full of expectation for next year. It is an incredibly full couple of days packed with worship, sharing, learning, and catching up with old friends.
One of the great parts of these events is catching up with projects you’ve been keeping tabs on. We got to participate in two worship grants from last year. It was great to spent some time with Matt Stevens who has been working on a worship grant at Vintage21 church just down the street from us. I hung out with Matt in March teaching his worship leaders about the story of the Passover/Lord’s Supper as part of a program learning about liturgy and elements in worship.
Isaac Wardell was also there sharing about the work of his grant at Trinity Presbyterian in Charlottesville, Va. Isaac, in partnership with BiFrost Arts hosted a fantastic worship/arts conference in St. Louis. I participated on a panel at the conference.
A significant part of the grant colloquium are times of learning. One session that particularly struck me was the time we spent looking at the Nairobi Statement on Worship and Culture. John Witvliet, the Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship walked us through this. Here is a brief statement from him on the significance of this document (PDF).
The document is helpful because it calls each of us to give attention to each of these four dimensions of the gospel. To those of us who have pursued cultural relevance with just about all our attention and energy, it calls us to dwell with the transcultural dimensions of the faith and determine which part of our culture we should resist. To those of us inclined to make universal pronouncements, the documents calls us to see the contextual nature of our own formulations and to learn from formulations from other cultural contexts that may challenge, complement, or enrich our understanding. To those of us with few if any contacts with people unlike ourselves, it invites us to the risky and rewarding prospects of forming cross-cultural friendships. The document challenges every leader, every congregation, and every denomination to not only develop their area of strength, but also their area of weakness.
And last, but certainly not least! is the time spent together in service – rich in music, word, liturgy, dance, color, sound, and any other element that is appropriate to list here. Since the worship grants program attracts churches from almost every church tradition and background it is an eclectic group to say the least. Highlights this year included hearing Pj read a poem from George Herbert in one service and getting to hear my composition “Come, Holy Ghost” in another service. What a treat!! I always leave incredibly thankful for the wisdom, discernment and hospitality of the CICW in navigating us through this time.
Blessed is the Church that gets to learn and worship with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.