looking out of a tent

Reflection Summer 2018 – 2nd September

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13 In Christ Alone

1. In Christ alone
my hope is found
He is my light,
my strength, my song
This Cornerstone,
this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest
drought and storm
What heights of love,
what depths of peace
When fears are stilled,
when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

2. In Christ alone,
who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love
and righteousness
Scorned by the ones
He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

3. There in the ground
His body lay
Light of the world
by darkness slain
Then bursting forth
in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood
of Christ

4. No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry
to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell,
no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me
from His hand
‘Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ
I stand.
Reflect on things for which you can give thanks to God and talk to him.

Psalm 122
1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up –
the tribes of the Lord –
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.’
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Psalm 123 is the third psalm of the psalms that pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem sang on the ascent to the city. Jerusalem is a city on top of a hill that is surrounded by higher mountains. At the time of approaching the city and beginning to climb, the pilgrims sang the psalms from 120 to 134. Each psalm has an important theme about faith.

Psalm 123 impels us to think about being with God. The city of Jerusalem and the temple represented the presence of God with his people. God was not far away. The things that all humanity seeks, justice, peace, security, can be found in the presence of God. The vision of the old testament is to dwell with God because God has come closer.

Now read the Luke reading below:

Luke 13:18-21
18 Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’
20 Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.’

Now, instead of approaching a city or a temple, Jesus encourages us to understand that we can experience the presence of God wherever we are and even within us. God still wants to dwell with us and the purpose of the temple of stones is replaced by the spirit of God that can dwell within us. The images that Jesus offers us are the same as Psalm 123, but even more intimate.

Can you say that you dwell in the presence of God now, that you feel his peace, protection and justice, like a the shelter of a tree, like the effect of yeast?

Think about the progression of Psalms 120, 121, 122 and your experience. How do they teach you to experience the presence of God more in life? (Confession, where we seek security, where we want to dwell).

Take time to pray.
Use the Lord’s Prayer, not only to repeat, but to give shape to your prayers. Each phrase can illuminate ideas and be expanded to what draws your attention.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

-Praise (including the character of God)
-The kingdom of God (including the news of the world last week)
-The needs of each day (including food, health …)
-Relationships with others
-The Whatsapp of the church

90 Psalm 62

1. My soul finds rest in God alone,
My Rock and my salvation,
A fortress strong against my foes,
And I will not be shaken.
Though lips may bless and hearts may curse,
And lies like arrows pierce me,
I’ll fix my heart on righteousness,
I’ll look to Him who hears me.

O praise Him, hallelujah,
My Delight and my Reward;
Everlasting, never failing,
My Redeemer, my God.

2. Find rest, my soul, in God alone
Amid the world’s temptations;
When evil seeks to take a hold
I’ll cling to my salvation.
Though riches come and riches go,
Don’t set your heart upon them;
The fields of hope in which I sow
Are harvested in heaven.

3. I’ll set my gaze on God alone,
And trust in Him completely;
With every day pour out my soul,
And He will prove His mercy.
Though life is but a fleeting breath,
A sigh too brief to measure,
My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever.

O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah! hallelujah!