Community Updates

Preparing for Worship: Living Faithfully in a Spiritually Dangerous World

John Haralson
April 1, 2022
Bible Project, “The Way of the Exile”

Bible Project, “The Way of the Exile”

[In Genesis 35] Israel must find a way to stay in the land with the Canaanites and yet practice faithfulness. The way chosen to do this without either destructiveness or accommodation is by way of radical symbolization. Israel engages in dramatic ritual activity as a mode of faithfulness.
Walter Brueggemann, Genesis: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching

       Note: Christian Formation is at 9:00 AM on Sunday
                 Worship is at 10:15 AM

                 In-person worship and live stream

Dear Grace Family,

As Christians in a city that isn’t too, well, stoked on the idea of the reign of Jesus, it can be a tremendous challenge to know how to live faithfully. If we take the scriptural account of the world seriously, we begin to realize that there are powerful spiritual forces at work trying to disrupt God’s work in the world. These forces seek to squeeze and force us into the world’s mold and get us to compromise our faith or even renounce it altogether.

In Genesis 34, we saw one approach to relating to those outside the community of faith. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi weaponized their faith and slaughtered the people of Shechem. There is little doubt that we should learn to instinctively recoil from such a posture.

In Genesis 35, we see a compelling alternative to Simeon & Levi’s violence. Instead of focusing their energy on fighting against the evil behavior of their Canaanite neighbors, Jacob and his family focus their energy on their own lives with God.

Hearing God reaffirm his promises to them and calling him back to himself, Jacob and those closest to him renounce the ways that they themselves have been complicit with the evil spiritual forces that animate life in the land. They build on this action of renunciation by purifying themselves and putting on new clothes—denoting their own commitment to live new lives marked by faithfulness to the Lord.

In this way, we see Jacob do something we’ve never quite seen him do before—model a way of faithfully living in the world in a manner that brings blessing to others.

I hope to worship with you on Sunday.

This Sunday: Genesis 35 (NIV)
                     Living Faithfully in a Spiritually Dangerous World
Here is the Order of Worship.

Warmly in Christ,

P.S. Don’t forget about the denominational discernment prayer gathering immediately after the service. Food will be provided by some of our Serving the City ministry partners.


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