Worship Companion – July 11 2021

We’re Celebrating New Life at UTMC!

The Temple of the Jews at Shilo. Hannah Presenting the Infant Samuel to the High Priest Eli is a painting by Solomon Alexander Hart

This week we get to welcome four children into the UTMC family through birth and adoption over the past year. God is the author of physical life and the author of family, especially the deep and significant bond of spiritual family. 
In the painting above we see Hannah presenting little Samuel for dedication in the Tent of Meeting at Shiloh, where the Israelites set up camp for the tabernacle upon entering the Promised Land. Hannah was blessed to receive a child after she prayer fervently. We continue to follow Hannah’s example in the ceremony of Child Dedication in our churches today. Of course we don’t leave our children at the church building to grow up there like Hannah did with Samuel, but we commit to raising them in the church, as in, raising them in the community of Faith that Jesus forms and leads. It is a powerful and important action taken on behalf of the child’s parents to express their desire to raise the child for service in the Kingdom of God, and also an expression of the parents’ need for help from the whole community to raise their child up in wisdom and faith.
Anchor Texts:
The Theme in Art:
We’ve already looked at one painting expressing the ancient dedication practice of children from scripture, but I’d like to turn to a very different depiction of discipling children. Here we see a young family, described as slaves in the summary of the painting called “Sunday Morning in Virginia.” The summary simply sates that it is a slave cabin in which the children are being taught to read the Bible on a Sunday morning. While the circumstances around such a painting are heartbreaking, the precious moment taking place in the cabin is pure beauty which carries eternal significance. There is clearly care on the face of the woman sitting by the children. Who is she? Who taught the oldest girl to read? We guess much from the picture, but it is clear that someone has passed on the importance of reading the Bible to these children. The Words of God are to them a source of peace and strength in an incredibly difficult world. We must pass on this hope and strength to those in our care, too.

Title: Sunday Morning in Virginia
Notes: Depicts a family in a slave cabin with children being taught how to read from the Bible
Date: 1877
Artist: Homer, Winslow, 1836-1910

The Theme in Song:
It can be a very tiring thing to pour into the lives of the little ones entrusted to us by God. This song expresses the need I think we all feel to rest in the arms of God as His children. Listen and rest for a moment as you let God prepare your heart for worshiping together on Sunday.

The Worship Companion Blogs are just a bit shorter for several weeks since they’ve been prepared beforehand since I’m taking some vacation time this summer. Thanks so much for making reflecting on the Scriptures and themes for the week part of your spiritual rhythms!

Worship Companion – July 4 2021

What is the Church?

Notre Dame, Paris, 2014

While it is beautiful beyond description even the great cathedral of Notre Dame is not “the church.” We are embarking on a new series over the course of this summer that asks some big questions about what “the Church” is, what its purpose is, and why it matters. This week our theme title is “People of the Flame.”
Anchor Texts:
Explore the Theme:
As we explore the beginnings of the church, this video gives us a very helpful introduction to some of the same themes we’ll be talking about on Sunday. Although the content of the first 3 minutes is our focus for this week, these excellent videos are worth a full viewing!

The Theme in Song:
This song may be outside of your usual musical boundaries (I have to admit its out of mine), but from the words to the very form of music that it expressed, it seems to capture something of being “People of the Flame” even if none of us in our church could keep up with singing this song!

If you don’t make it through the whole song above, that’s alright. This second song is quite different in style, but equally focused on the events of Pentecost and our new identity symbolized in the tongues of fire.


Worship Companion – June 27 2021

Congratulations to our Graduates!

Worship Companion – June 20 2021

Happy Father’s Day!

Worship Companion – June 13 2021

Friends care for one another.

Cornelis De Wael – “To Visit The Imprisoned” – ca. 1640

Worship Companion – June 6 2021


The Visitation – Mike Moyers

Worship Companion – May 30 2021

“I am an exile – a sojourner; A citizen of some other place. All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, But I know one day I’ll see face to face. I am a nomad – a wanderer; I have nowhere to lay my head down. There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on. I’m not settling for this unsettling town.” – Thrice “In Exile”
As a follower of Jesus, if you’ve felt like you can’t fit in to the way this world works, you’re right. We’re Citizens of another land and we live according to the rules of that Kingdom. Does that mean we’re just waiting to leave here? No! According to Scripture we’re waiting for this land to be taken back and made new – reclaimed for the King of Kings when He returns.
Title: R Coronae Australis [Click for larger image view]

R Coronae Australis, taken at the European Southern Observatory, 2010

Worship Companion – May 23 2021

It’s another special Sunday in the church calendar! Pentecost Sunday!
Title: Veni Sancti Spiritus [Click for larger image view]

Adam Kossowski, 1965

Worship Companion – May 16 2021

There are at least two reasons to be excited about this Sunday. First, we’re talking about living a radical life for Jesus from our Philippians text for the week. Second, it is Ascension Sunday. Not sure what that is? Thankfully, Father Black and his Lego friends are here to explain it.
John Copley painted this now famous picture of the Ascension of Jesus. He sought to combine the disciplines of history and art together and saw it as a way to teach and inspire people at the same time. As you read the account from Acts 1, what elements of the story do you see woven into this one moment Copley is capturing? On a note of personal reflection – why do you think the Ascension is an important part of the Gospel stor

Worship Companion – May 9 2021

Happy Mother’s Day!