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

 
Citizens of Heaven.
It’s quite the title. Paul employs this kind of language a handful of times, and the same idea is built into all of the “kingdom of God/Heaven” teaching that Jesus gives in the gospels. The point is that we belong to a new Realm, over which the True King has total dominion, and He is bringing his authority and rule to bear on all creation eventually. We still wait for the day when all Christ’s enemies will be subdued under his feet, and until that day, as citizens of his kingdom we are also messengers and heralds, announcing the Good News of the King and living by the rules of our Kingdom in a land still ruled by people who live as if their belly was God instead of Jesus. We don’t live to gratify our desires, we live to honour God, and so we live as citizens in a foreign land, awaiting the day when Christ is over all and through all, and in all (Eph 2:6).
 
 
Anchor Texts:
 
 
 
The Theme in Art:
The effects of a church “whose god is their belly.” 
I’m not sure that the particular church in this photo is at all an example of a church whose “god is their belly,” if anything, a downtown church like this one is probably positioned there precisely because their God is Jesus who would be right there with the hurting and alone. Yet, the juxtaposition (contrast between the good shepherd and the man sleeping in the street) is striking. When the church lets their belly become their god, they become more interested in worldly things like wealth, image, and pleasure, than with the things God cares about – truth, justice, and love. The type of idolatry that Paul is talking about in our text today is putting any created thing above God as the goal and pursuit of our lives.
See the source image

Image from religion.blogs.cnn.com

 
 
The Theme in Song:
This song was a last minute addition, and one that I knew I should include as soon as I heard it, though I wasn’t sure how I would describe it. Jon Guerra wrote the song “I Will Follow You” that we sang several weeks ago in worship together, but this song is much different than a modern corporate worship song. Instead, it comes across much more like a modern psalm of lament. Like biblical psalms, it is rooted in a particular culture, time, and place and inspired by real events. While we aren’t (strictly speaking) “American Christians,” this song, and the biblical psalms of lament that surely inspired it, are valuable for us because they are concrete expressions of the questions, affirmations, and tensions that every follower-of-God feels in their own time and place. We feel these tensions because we are citizens of a particular culture/time/place but over and against that, we have been granted Citizenship in the heavenly Kingdom. Like a biblical psalm, this song isn’t “tidy.” Then again, our lives as citizens of Heaven in this present broken world aren’t “tidy” either. Have a listen, and read along with the lyrics below to help you catch everything. Prayerfully consider what this song might mean to you today.
 

 

LYRICS

I have a heart full of questions

Quieting all my suggestions

What is the meaning of Christian

In this American life

 

I’m feeling awfully foolish

Spending my life on a message

I look around and I wonder

Ever if I heard it right

 

Coming to you ‘cause I’m confused

Coming to you ‘cause I feel used

Coming to weep while I’m waiting

Tell me you won’t make me go

 

 I need to know there is justice

 That it will roll in abundance

 And that you’re building a city

 Where we arrive as immigrants

 And you call us citizens

 And you welcome us as children home

 

You were alone and rejected

Misunderstood and detested

You gave it all, didn’t hold back

You even gave up your life

 

How can we call ourselves Christians

Saying that love is a tension

Between the call of the cross and

Between the old party line

 

Coming to you for the mothers

Who are all running for cover

There is a flood from their weeping

Tell me you won’t make them go

 

 I need to know there is justice

 That it will roll in abundance

 And that you’re building a city

 Where we arrive as immigrants

 And you call us citizens

 And you welcome us as children home

 

There is a man with a family

He has a wife and a baby

He broke the law just to save them

Working for three bucks an hour

 

Truly you said we were equal

Everyone’s heart is deceitful

Everyone born is illegal

When love is the law of the land

 

Coming to you for the hungry

Eating the scraps of this country

Didn’t you swear you would feed them

Tell me you won’t make them go

 

 I need to know there is justice

 That it will roll in abundance

 And that you’re building a city

 Where we arrive as immigrants

 And you call us citizens

 And you welcome us as children home

 

There is a wolf who is ranting

All of the sheep they are clapping

Promising power and protection

Claiming the Christ who was killed

 

Killed by a common consensus

Everyone screaming “Barabbas”

Trading their God for a hero

Forfeiting Heaven for Rome

 

Coming to you ‘cause I’m angry

Coming to you ‘cause I’m guilty

Coming to you ‘cause you’ve promised

To leave the flock for the one

 

 I need to know there is justice

 That it will roll in abundance

 And that you’re building a city

 Where we arrive as immigrants

 You call us citizens

 And welcome us as children home

 

Is there a way to love always?

Living in enemy hallways

Don’t know my foes from my friends and

Don’t know my friends anymore

 

Power has several prizes

Handcuffs can come in all sizes

Love has a million disguises

But winning is simply not one

 
The Theme for Kids:
 
While I much prefer to find kid’s videos that are actually videos, this song is a great musical take on the core part of our text today in Philippians. We listen to Seeds Family Worship regularly at our house on Spotify, but you can find them on Apple Music and of course, right here on YouTube in the link below. Listen to our “theme song” this week!
 

 
 
 
 

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