SERVICE SUMMARY: “What you see is what you get,” we are told. Yet the imagination is not satisfied with that answer. Whether as young children reading fairy tales or as adults beholding a mountain view, we all ask, “is there more than meets the eye?” Throughout history Christians have understood worship to be the place where heaven meets earth–a portal to another world. Can it really be so? Can those songs and prayers and idiosyncratic conversations in ancient cathedrals and suburban strip malls really lift the veil to glory? If so, what do they reveal? Join us this Sunday as we again look at worship, one of the fundamentals of Christian faith.
Some keep the Sabbath going to church; I keep it staying at home, With a bobolink for a chorister, and an orchard for a dome.
Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.
Why is it … that while the places of worship in Cardiff were only sparsely attended, the trains come from … sea-side places were pack out? … Well, the answer is perfectly plain. They obviously prefer to be at the seaside and feel that they get more benefit there than they did in their chapels and churches.”
On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”
When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”
16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
CONFESSION OF SIN
Sovereign Lord, you rule the nations,
But we live as though we are the center of the universe.
Sovereign Lord, you ordain all things for your glory and our good,
But we seek to control our own lives and the lives of others.
Sovereign Lord, you have written all our days,
But we fret over the unknown.
Sovereign Lord, you rule with justice and mercy,
But we presume to be more just and merciful than you.
Lord, forgive us for all the ways we think we can do your job better than you, and give us a humble confidence in your sovereign will. Amen.
SONG TO CONSIDER