July 14, 2020

Ça Ira

Edith Piaf (1915-1963)
Today is the 231st anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the beginning of the French Revolution. One of the most famous revolutionary songs (first sung a few months after the Storming of the Bastille) was Ça Ira, which means "it'll be fine." This title and sentiment have American roots, because they were what Benjamin Franklin—the American commissioner in Paris—used to tell the French when they'd how the American Revolution was going.

This particular rendition of Ça Ira is sung by Edith Piaf.

We Have Other Gods

Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge people fairly?
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.
—Psalm 58:1-2

We no longer hear much about Asherah and Baal, Osiris and Isis, Marduk and Ishtar. There's just not that much of a temptation for modern day believers in the God of Israel to kneel before them. We have other gods, though: greed, power, money, lust, capitalism, militarism. But because we don't acknowledge them as gods, we don't realize that we worship them.

But make no mistake—it is by their hand that war, injustice, and oppression is meted out on earth. The ancients at least called their gods gods. We're

July 13, 2020

Gratitude and Praise

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
  Psalm 57:9 

There is, I suppose, more than one way to thank God among the peoples and to praise God among the nations. In my setting, the most obvious way is to make known to people who may not be persons of faith that I am a disciple, and that I attribute the good in my life to God.

In some (many?) settings, this might, in fact, be counterproductive. To talk about God in a society in which people calling themselves Christians advocate racism and bigotry might close more ears than it opens. And so gratitude and praise might better be expressed through sharing with others

July 12, 2020

July 12 Worship

My study on Romans continues with a look at Romans 8:26-30. To better understand the verses 29-30, I bring Harry Potter into the mix. Here's the order:
  • 00:00 Chimes
  • 00:23 Prélude: Hedwig's Theme
  • 01:34 Welcome
  • 02:10 Call to Worship: Psalm 105:4-7
  • 02:32 Opening Prayer
  • 03:12 Scripture Reading: Romans 8:26-30
  • 04:11 Bookshelf Tour
  • 16:26 Bible Study
  • 27:34 Song: My Love Is Always Here
  • 30:38 Prayer/Epiclesis
  • 32:13 Lord's Prayer
  • 32:40 Fraction/Institution
  • 33:26 Benediction
  • 33:54 Response: Go Now in Peace
As always, it's best to watch the video in full-screen mode.

To Be Awake at Sunrise

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody.
Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.
Psalm 57:7-8

To be awake at sunrise and sing the psalms not only arouses the soul, but welcomes the day in a way that nothing else can, for, as Calvin put it, "one who is really awake to the exercise of praising God... will be unremitting in every part of the duty."

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of thee, let my first impulse be to worship thee, let my first speech be thy Name, let my first action be to kneel before thee in prayer. Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of thee. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day. Amen.
—John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer