Preparing for Worship: Psalm 47

Preparing for Worship: Psalm 47

John Haralson   •   June 3, 2016

“O I am my Beloved’s  
And my Beloved is mine!  
He brings a poor vile sinner  
Into His house of wine  

I stand upon His merit -  
I know no other stand,  
Not e’en where glory dwelleth  
In Emmanuels land."

Anne Cousin, The Sands of Time Are Sinking (a hymn based on the Letters of Samuel Rutherford
 

Dear Friends,

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I’ll never forget that moment. 

This event that had a profound impact on the city of Seattle. With 30 seconds to go in the 2014 NFC Championship, the San Francisco 49ers were driving the ball and on the verge of scoring the go-ahead touchdown. Our hearts were in our throats when Richard Sherman tipped the ball away into the waiting arms of Seattle linebacker Malcom Smith. I still remember the TV announcer’s words at this moment:

    “This game is over.”

I also remember the joy in my basement among the friends that had gathered to watch the game. We were hugging and high-fiving each other and there may have even been a few tears in the room. 

The Seahawks’ victory had led to our joy. 

Now, for those of you who don’t follow the Seahawks or who, heaven forbid, are 49er fans, this particular moment in history doesn’t bring you joy. Here’s why:

    Union is the key to joy.

Here’s what I mean by that. The reason why Seattle fans experienced joy at that moment is because we are united to the Seahawks. Their accomplishments are shared with us in a very real way. If you are not united to the team, their accomplishments mean nothing to you.

It is the same way with God.

To be a Christian means to be united with God. Theologians often speak of “union with Christ” or use the New Testament language of being with or in Christ. The idea is that he graciously and lovingly shares the fulness of his life with his people.

One of the many ways this applies has to do with the kingship of Christ. After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus ascended to be with God the Father in heaven (or, in the heavenly realms, as Paul puts it in Ephesians 2). 

And here is precisely where union with Christ becomes critical. Union with Christ means that we, the people of God, are exalted along with him. Jesus’ ascension to the throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords means that we, mysteriously but truly, have been raised with him.

This, I would say, is plenty of reason for us to cheer. This is why the Psalmist wrote:
        Clap your hands, all peoples!
        Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
        For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
            a great king over all the earth.

Jesus’ kingship means blessing and honor has also come to us by his grace.

This week: Psalm 47 & Ephesians 2:1-10

Liturgy is here. 

I hope to worship with you.

Warmly in Christ,

John

P.S. This Sunday Grace Kids and Youth Community Group (YCG) will be having their year-end parties at 10:30 am. We will also be receiving new members and having a couple of baptisms. It should be a wonderful day together.