To the First Presbyterian Church family,
[This is a partial reprint of last November's column, but I wanted us to pick back up our thinking as we resume the liturgical year.] Let's continue our quest to go back to the sources! Namely, Scripture and its centrality in the life of the church. This was the rallying cry of the Reformation, and I hope we can use the ongoing liturgical year to reemphasize Scripture and its place in our worship services. Here are some links for more on church seasons and the Lectionary.
It’s the suggested scripture texts for each Sunday that especially stand out, as each morning’s readings can be united by a common theme (the joy in the waiting theme of the fourth Sunday in Lent, the resurrection texts of Easter, etc.). There are usually four suggested texts – from Hebrew poetry (Psalms, Job, etc., often ideal for our Call to Worship), another Old Testament text, a Gospel, and Epistle (letter by Paul, James, etc.). Picking it back up this Transfiguration Sunday, we will begin to make sure at least two scripture texts are read every morning. I have fond memories of this from my Lutheran days when the pastor would read three texts and preach from one of them.
Of course, this is not just to “try something different” but rather to remember that God’s Word to us is always central. I hope every Sunday morning Scripture texts are reaching all of our hearts and touching them in ways above and beyond anything I preach about. The Holy Spirit is the great expositor of Scriptures after all. And I am grateful that this Lenten season you will hear the Word of God from more than just my voice and in more ways than just a voice.
This Sunday the Transfiguration will be celebrated - when Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, shone in a blinding way, illustrating well the Light of God and the necessity of our eyes to see His glory, not just our ears to hear of it.
Ash Wednesday follows and I will again burn last year's palms to illustrate this (see our church Facebook, the usual place for all our service recordings)
The following Friday, February 16 we will be part of a community service at 1st Baptist of Norristown (previously announced and flier attached) where there will be a preacher (me!) but the Word will also be sung by many church bands and choirs from the wider body of Christ.
February 18 will be the first Sunday in Lent, and we will partake of the Lord's Supper together, a sacrament where the Word of God is not just seen and heard but tasted.
The community events will continue every Wednesday at Bridgeport Presbyterian with their Lenten meals and watching and discussing The Chosen.
And finally, there will be many opportunities to hear the Word of God throughout the Holy Week community services, including in our sanctuary as we will once again host the Maundy Thursday Communion Service. More details to follow.
Let's open the Word together, both in our church and in the wider church community,
I Corinthians 2:2
~Rev. Peter Martin