Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 18

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 18

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

– The Fault in Our Stars

There is a certain idea popular today that insists that we are to endure pain because good times will inevitably come and the bad times serve to make them seem better. Anyone who has been to a number of funerals has likely seen this in action.

“Well, at least you have your health.”

“You know what, he wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad.”

“Let’s just focus on celebrating her life.”

These comments are usually well-meaning and certainly contain elements of truth. However, they gloss over the reality of pain and hurt. Unwittingly, they are for a certain stoicism, appealing to the idea that though sadness may be here now, it won’t stick around forever.

John 11:33-35 is a haunting passage. Jesus see the people mourning over Lazarus and is moved.  Verse 35 is terse as it captures his reaction: “Jesus wept.” The eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, wept. We can only guess as to why. Perhaps it was because of his great sympathy. Perhaps it was because of the devastation of sin. Perhaps it was because he knew what it would take to undo this curse. The Bible doesn’t see fit to give us the reason, but it does show his reaction. He wept. He did not make light of the situation. He did not offer a trite statement. Instead, he wept.

Our culture doesn’t know how to process grief because it doesn’t know redemption. Like Jesus, we can cry bitter tears over the effects of the curse. Rather than brushing them away we can own them for what they are, dreadful reminders of  The Fall. We can mourn over loss and share the grief of others. However, we can also live with true joy that is the result of our hope in Christ. He conquered death by death and is rolling back the darkness of the curse. Because of this, we know a joy beyond all temporal compare.

This Sunday, we see that true joy is found in serving Jesus. True joy isn’t found in the mere absence or avoidance of sadness and pain, but it is in our active participation in the work of the Kingdom to reflect heaven on earth. We do this by following our Lord in serving others. We do this until Christ, our source of true Joy, returns and banishes tears of sadness and the pain of grief from His people.

Let us joyfully come to the Table of our Lord so that we might leave as servants motivated by the Christ’s body and blood, through which we received a joy beyond joys.

THE WORD

Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
Sermon: Joyfully Serving Jesus

SONGS

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (arr. Charlie Hall)
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Come Ye Sinners (arr. Indelible Grace)
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Enough (arr. Chris Tomlin)
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Song of Preparation: Go Labor On  (arr. Shane Martin)
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Song for the Supper: At the Table  (arr. Ordinary Time)
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THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

The highest form of corporate Christian worship is the Lord’s Supper. The celebration of the Supper directs our attention backward to the work of Christ on the cross and also encourages a forward look to the second coming of Christ. In addition, it provides a time for believers to examine their own personal relationship with God as well as their relationship with other believers while experiencing communion with the exalted Christ. The observance is one that is so simple a child can partake with a sense of understanding, yet it contains so many theological ramifications that even the most mature believer will not fully comprehend it’s meaning.”

David S. Dockery

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