Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 23

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 23

This is, admittedly, not one of my most well thoughtout arguments, but I believe that the heart of the American Dream is best located in two places: the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the movies of Pixar. (This may sound absurd, but America can be pretty absurd as well, so it fits.) In many ways they are complete opposites. Emerson was the prolific leader of the Transcendentalist philosophical movement of the mid-19th century. Pixar is a digital animation giant that has ruled the box office with anthropomorphic toys (and cars), cuddly monsters, and a rat that is a Parisian gastronome.  Despite these differences, I believe that Emerson and Pixar are just opposite sides of the same American coin. Both present different takes on the theme of reliance. For Emerson (who actually has an essay entitled “Self-Reliance), the individual must shun conformity in order to pursue one’s own inner self. Pixar is more community oriented, but it still produces films that highlight individuals who are able to overcome their situation with the help of their friends and family. Both Emerson and Pixar hit at the core American doctrine of upward mobility and progress, whether by pulling oneself up by the bootstraps or standing on the shoulders of those who help you. 

In some sense, both of these elements are present in Christian doctrine. As individuals, we are called to pursue truth and righteousness. We aren’t loners, however. We live out our faith within the context of the church and rely upon our brothers and sisters in Christ for all manner of aid, counsel, and comfort.  The heart of the Gospel, however, stands against the American dream. In this life, it may seem as if we can overcome some of our circumstances through our own effort or by the help of those around us. These, however, are just minor reflections of our true circumstance:  guilty and deserving of punishment because of our rebellious hearts that are set against God and his Kingdom. Furthermore, Scripture teaches that there is only one way that this condition can be changed: through the person and work of Jesus Christ. No effort of our own, nor through the collective power of a community, can bridge the alienation of a sinner from God. Christ is the only way to the Father, through reliance on him alone are we made right. 

This week, we will look together at Luke 10:25-11:26. In this passage, we learn that it isn’t only at the beginning of Christian life that we must rely on Christ. Rather, we see that the entirety of the Christian life is one of increasing reliance upon Him. We don’t bootstrap our way through the Christian life, nor do we rely solely on others to push us towards holiness. Instead, we follow Christ, knowing that just as he drew near to us when we were sinners he will draw us near to him through this life and into eternity. 

THE WORD

Scripture: Luke 10:25-11:26
Sermon: Christ Our Teacher

SONGS

God All Nature Sings Thy Glory (arr. Traditional)
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Draw Me Nearer (arr. Caedmon’s Call)
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Holy, Holy, Holy (arr. Traditional)
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Jesus Messiah (arr. Chris Tomlin)
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Song of Preparation: Hosea (arr. Shane and Shane)
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Song of Response: By Our Love (arr. Christy Nockels)
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QUESTIONS

1.  What are some characteristics of compassion shown in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)? How might these inform the way that you show compassion? How does this parable ultimately point to Jesus and his compassion?

2. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reveals Martha’s misplaced priorities. Are there misplaced priorities in your life keeping you from devotion centered on Christ? How does Jesus’ response to Martha apply to these misplaced priorities?

3. Prayer is an essential aspect of Christian devotion. What are the fundamental elements of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4)? How do your prayers compare to this prayer? Are there elements in the Lord’s Prayer that are lacking in your own prayers?

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