Worship Companion – January 3 2021

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees about what this year will hold either. In fact, we can be sure of precisely none of the details. God never actually promises that things in this life will be fine, and troublingly, assures the opposite. Jesus, in John’s account of the Gospel, says “In this world you will have trouble.” This could be disheartening, but he doesn’t stop there, he adds, “Take Heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus acknowledges the “already/not yet” aspect of the kingdom of God. The present and wrongful ruler of this world, the Devil, is already defeated–Jesus has overcome him! Yet, the world is still in the grips of the powers of Evil, and we live in the days of the death-throes of Satan. We still get hurt and cause hurt. But there is beauty and light shining through the cracks of this imperfect creation already, as The New grows underneath and will soon break out like a new shoot from cracked ground.
Jesus’ words here are so powerful because they spell out the truth so simply. This life (and this coming year) will continue to be hard in many ways, but we can take heart – our God is greater. As a favourite song of mine from several years ago puts it from God’s perspective:
“What good is the whole world
when I promise no tomorrow,
I only promise your tomorrows
will never take you past my palm.”
Take heart!
Anchor Passages for the week:
The Theme in Song:
I had to resist the urge to use The Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!” for the theme song of the week, although it is basically Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 put to song with a few add-ins and omissions. You can go listen to it after you finish this blog if you like.
Even though the song below is actually about last week’s worship theme, I couldn’t share it because I didn’t do a companion blog last week. So, I thought I would add it into this blog. Since this can be a difficult time of year, I preached last week on the hope we have of Jesus’ presence with us and this song takes our theme of “Morning Star” from 2 Peter 1 and puts it to a song that will bring a smile to your face. I’m sure you’ll tap your toes to this one.

The Theme in Art:
This incredible piece of art by John Swanson represents a mural of the “seasons” from Ecclesiastes 3. In it you will see celebrations and sadness, big meals and times of little. It’s interesting to note the images that anchor the corners, as well as the relative size of different scenes. I think there is an indication in this piece about our future hope, in particular, toward the bottom two corner images that anchor the mural. You may have to zoom in on this webpage to get a better look.

John Swanson – Ecclesiastes

The Theme for Kids:
This is the shortest introduction to Ecclesiastes you’ll ever find, but for kids and adults alike, it gives us a summary of the point of the book and a helpful grounding to go and read it for ourselves!

May ‚Äčthe God of new beginnings
wipe away your tears
as He calls us to care for one another.
God, give us eyes to see your gifts,
give us strength to care for your creatures great and small.
Establish the work of our hands 
to serve you each day of this new year.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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