Worship Companion – March 7 2021

We’re already in our 7th week of the series “A New Rhythm.” Can you believe it?
 
 

This mosaic of Simon of Cyrene carrying the Cross of Christ is in Aberdeen’s Catholic Cathedral. It is by Gabriel Loire of Chartres.

 
 
This week we are challenged to build a rhythm of “submission.” The call is to focus our eyes toward a much bigger goal than just our little “skull-sized kingdom.”  It’s easy to slip into a self-serving way of living that pretends that we can make the world our kingdom. Scripture directs us to submit to the “Kingdom of Heaven” instead. This kingdom is the rule of God everywhere, all the time – God’s “Kingdom of Heaven” claims us, it claims the town of Mitchell, and indeed the whole universe. Will we submit? The Kingdom gains ground not by force, but by self-denial and self-sacrificing love, just like Jesus showed us by taking up the cross. That is a hard thing to submit to – laying down our ambitions for God and living meekly in a world full of tyrants – really?
 
 
Anchor Passages:
 
 
 
 
The Theme In Song:
 
This recording of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “For the Sake of the Call” was recorded at a “Voice of the Martyrs” event, and fittingly highlights our theme this week of submission to the call of Christ no matter what. His line “if we believe we’ll obey” sums up perfectly the biblical meaning of “belief” as action and not just an idea. If we believe the message of the kingdom it means we are acting in obedience to the call of the King.
 

 

The idea of carrying the cross isn’t as common as you might think in our modern worship / Christian music genres. This song by Andrew Peterson touches on the themes of challenge in the present age, the hope we have, and our dependence on the Spirit to endure with Christ everyday, who “carries the fire” along with us. 
 
The Theme in Art:
 
 

Painting – “Quo Vadis?” by Annibale Carracci – 1601 – Oil on Canvas

In this painting Carracci depicts Christ and Peter meeting together on the road to Rome. The scene is based on a traditional story about Peter after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. As the story goes, Peter is once again having doubts and is fleeing Rome, but has a vision of Christ carrying the cross back down the road toward the city from which Peter is fleeing. The vision challenges Peter, and he turns around and returns to Rome where he eventually is martyred for Christ. While the story doesn’t come from scripture, it certainly illustrates the vivid call of Jesus in Mark 8:34 for us to take up our cross and enter the fray of living for the Kingdom of God and renouncing our own imaginary kingdoms of earthly comfort and ease. Our lives are part of something much bigger than our own plans and ambitions, and it is actually the most freeing thing in the world to begin living for the Kingdom of God instead of serving our own desires.
 
 
The Theme for Kids:
 
 
Here’s an animated clip of our anchor passage for today!
 

Submission may seem like a strange rhythm, but the only way we will “take up our cross” is if we heed Christ’s qualifying term – “daily.” Taking up the cross is not a call that only applies to intense moments or big decisions, it is a daily call to submit ourselves to the King and his pattern of living – self-denial, and self-giving love.
God Bless you this week as you consider the cost of discipleship and obey the call of Jesus daily.
 

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