“You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.” – N. T. Wright, “Simply Christian”
For my friends Craig and Vilene Horton
- First reading and Psalm
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Second reading
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
4 What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises. Interlude
5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
7 They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude
9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield!
Show favor to the one you have anointed.
10 A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.
Today is Back-to-School eve. The children in our county will be heading back to school tomorrow.
Over the last few weeks, Pam and I have watched Facebook as many of our friends posted their children’s First Day of School pictures. For the first time since 1993, we don’t have a child going to public school. It’s weird – it’s like something is missing. Rebecca has graduated college and is attending classes on a graduate level and her and her husband are currently taking classes so they can lead birthing classes. Anna has graduated from college and this last spring James graduated from high school. We had two traditions associated with Back-to-School – with even a few more if you added in our church activities.
The first was the Night Before School Ice Cream outing. We always took the kids out for ice cream – where ever that may be – in New York, it was at “The Farmer’s Daughter,” in Martinsville it was Dairy Queen and here it was usually Klines.
The second back to school tradition was cinnamon buns on the first day of school along with the regular first day of school pictures. It will be weird not doing all these events because they have been part of our lives for 22 years.
For those who do have children going back to school, we pray for them as they return. We pray that God will protect them, that they will be light, and that they will learn the important things in live. I also pray for our many Christian teacher friends – I pray that they also may shine God’s light and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Here is the sermon that I preached on Sunday at Waynesboro Wesleyan Church. I was filling the pulpit for a good friend of mine. The message is entitled Imitate God from Ephesians 5:1-3. The camera work is interesting. James was behind the camera and in the process of packing, we misplaced our tripod.
Several of my Facebook friends shared this video. I think it’s appropriate for this morning. I am redeemed, because Christ set me free.