Worship Companion – January 10 2021

Big Question: What is God like?
It seems like an impossibly huge question to answer – but its one to which the Scriptures are constantly providing us answers in the form glances and partial views– at least, that is, until we meet Jesus the Christ.
See the source image
Theme: Keeping our Eyes Fixed on God
Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking at the ways the Bible answers the question “Who is God?” First, we’ll be looking at the big ideas about God that the Bible gives us, and then in the second week, we’ll take a look more closely at Jesus himself.
In a time of lockdown and isolation, I think it’s important that we fix our eyes on God. Then after we’ve oriented ourselves, we’re going to spend about 12 weeks talking about spiritual rhythms that draw us closer to the Father and help us be formed ever close to the image of his glorious Son.
Anchor Passages and a special reading:
I have also included the relevant part of Irenaeus’s book here)
But there is one only God, the Creator — He who is above every Principality, and Power, and Dominion, and Virtue: He is Father, He is God, He the Founder, He the Maker, He the Creator, who made those things by Himself, that is, through His Word and His Wisdom — heaven and earth, and the seas, and all things that are in them: He is just; He is good; He it is who formed man, who planted paradise, who made the world, who gave rise to the flood, who saved Noah; He is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of the living: He it is whom the law proclaims, whom the prophets preach, whom Christ reveals, whom the apostles make known to us, and in whom the Church believes. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: through His Word, who is His Son, through Him He is revealed and manifested to all to whom He is revealed; for those [only] know Him to whom the Son has revealed Him. But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning, always reveals the Father to Angels, Archangels, Powers, Virtues, and all to whom He wills that God should be revealed.
About the Readings:
I have intended to include both an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a later Christian answer as a response to the question, who is God? The reading in Exodus gives us an experience, the letter to the Corinthians gives us a pastoral answer, and Irenaeus gives us a theological answer. We need each of these to be able to answer the question, since God is known through personal encounters, through the community of the apostolic church, and through theological inquiry. Yet, each of these on their own is not sufficient to “get to know” God.
These passages don’t explore much of our knowledge of God through Christ Jesus, which we will focus on next week. Instead, we’re talking about God as the Holy one – totally different from his creation. His holiness or “otherness” is crucial to understand, because we are always tempted to drag him down into creation and make him part of the systems we understand, when ultimately He stands outside them. 
But God has always taken an interest in descending down to his creation by his own totally free and loving choice. This is the shocking element of the Judeo-Christian faith. In the Bible, God has no dependence on humans like in so many pagan religions. Rather, He bound himself to people, a place, and a time all out of sheer love
The Theme in Song:
I know Chris Tomlin gets enough air-time, but this song is worth sharing. It’s actually a little tricky to find modern worship songs that focus on God for the sake of singing about Him, rather than singing about how His attributes benefit us. Of course God does bless us, but God doesn’t exist merely to do things for us. We ought to acknowledge His glory, power, and majesty for His own sake – purely because He is Good. Then we can begin to marvel at how He draws near to us, unworthy as we are.

The Theme in Art:
This image of Mount Sinai is taken from a “Bible Card” published by Providence Lithograph Company in 1907. While its not art by a famous artist, I find it seems to convey the immensity of the mountain and the overwhelming and quite frankly terrifying presence of God described in Exodus 24 and surrounding narratives of God meeting the Israelites at Sinai.

The Theme for Kids:
Here are some kids doing a better job than I could talking about who God is!

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