Sound Theology by Colleen Butcher
Last week we celebrated Trinity Sunday as well as the Baptism of Jesus. This week, I wanted to focus even more on Jesus. As I read through the verses and stories for this week in the Revised Lectionary and The Story Lectionary, I was overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus in each reading. So, today I wanted us to listen to some songs about Jesus. As you look, see where you find Jesus winking at you. In some of these songs, it will be apparent, in some songs, you will have focus. Either way, Jesus is waiting for you to join Him in the song!
Celtic Woman – Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (live)
“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge
Avicii – Wake Me Up (Official Video)
Casting Crowns – Only Jesus (Official Lyric Video)
Sunday After Pentecost
There are many ways to praise God. God has placed praise on our lips and words of joyfulness on our tounges. Let’s listen to the same song (Ode to Joy/Joyful Joyful) performed in various ways:
Did you listen to all of them? Which one was your favorite? Why?
When it comes to praising God, there are as more ways to praise Him than there are stars in the heavens. The means to praise Him may vary, but the end is to praise Him.
The Spirit of Christ filled the place, and the disciples were changed forever.
We all want to be filled like that. We all want that mountain shaking power. We are given that power; sometimes it is in just saying thank you to the barista, sometimes it is in holding the door open for someone, sometimes it is in doing something that may cost us our lives. Regardless of how the Spirit works in our Lives… The Spirit is working.
So many look to peoples strengths to find a miracle. Many see that weakness is a hindrance to miracles. But miracles are formed out of weakness. He is our strength. He is the power to do miracles. That thing in us that seems so overwhelming weak is the very thing that God will use.
The Apostles were in an upper room. They were called, but they were afraid. They felt weak, and indeed, they were weak. They had denied him; they had run away; they had hidden in shame. Yet Jesus commanded them to go into all the world. They must have asked themselves, “how could God use them when they were so weak”? When the Holy Spirit came on them, they did not become supermen. God indwelled their weaknesses.
You see, where the world sees weakness, God sees strength.
With His ascension, Jesus called us to be His incarnation to the world. That’s a large responsibility. If it were not for Jesus promise of Pentecost, the disciples would have been left with the authority to “Go into all of the worlds” without the power to go. Yet Jesus, in His Ascension, promised the power was on its way. Without the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling them, the disciples must have felt scared and alone. The disciples felt like a kite with no wind. Looking at Peter specifically, even Jesus had restored Peter, Peter, just like all of us, must have looked back at all his failures and wondered, “how will I be able to?” The answer from Jesus seems to be “der child, stop relying on your own power.” God is the one who covers.
In preparation for Ascension Sunday, God’s promise of covering us rings ever true. In his song “He Covers Me,” Steve Camp sings from a heart of knowing that though we man not now see Him in person, God’s covering is all we need.
Everyone goes through hard times. It seems that when we are in the deepest valleys, that we are alone. We are not. Psalm 23 is very familiar to so many, yet sometimes we read it so robotically that we miss what is being said. The verse is read at so many funerals, yet sadly is read as if it were obligatory. Being in a valley of despair and yet knowing that God is there is where faith meets circumstances. When we are at rock bottom, when we cannot raise ourselves up, He is still with us. When we can not hold on, He holds on to us. Many have heard the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Well yes, yes, He can, and does. Not to overload us, but for us to load onto Him all our cares and concerns. In the song “Always Here with Me,” Tony Melendez brings the truth of the Psalm to life. It reminds us that it is God who leads us and lifts us up. It is God who protects us and leads us through the Valley of death. https://youtu.be/XM9frSPkZoU