The original German text for “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” was written by Joachim Neander (1650-1680). He based this text on Psalm 103 and Psalm 150. Born in Breman, Germany, Neander penned about sixty hymn texts and composed numerous tunes. Most of his lyrics were declarations of praise to God. Neander came from a long lineage of […]
This Sunday we were reminded not only to love God and our neighbors, but to love ourselves. When Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment?”, he responded with familiar words. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He quickly followed with a […]
Good Morning! Welcome to worship on this warm and sunny day. Today starts the third week of our children’s Compassion Camp, a 5-week exploration of scripture that teaches us about showing the love and compassion of Christ with our whole lives. Last week we read a story from Mark’s Gospel about a man whose friends carried him up onto a roof and then lowered him down so that he could be healed by Jesus. As we read this familiar story, we remembered that sometimes showing compassion means having courage and being willing to overcome obstacles. This week we hear another familiar text, one in which Jesus challenges us to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves. Which one do you think is the most difficult?
Two of the worship songs in Greystone’s August 2, 2020, online worship service were written and composed by longtime Greystone member, Pepper Choplin. The first of these is “The Greatest Commandment.” Published in 2013, this anthem is based upon Mark 12:30-31, which contains Jesus’ response to the scribe’s question, “Which commandment is the first of all?” […]
Good Morning! Today we welcome Rev. Courtney Young Hickman as our guest preacher. This week starts the second week of our children’s Compassion Camp, a 5-week exploration of scripture that teaches us about showing the love and compassion of Christ with our whole lives. Last week, we talked about expanding the table to make sure all are invited. This week we read a story from Mark’s Gospel about a man whose friends carried him up onto a roof and then lowered him down so that he could be healed by Jesus. Reading the story reminds us of what compassion looks like when we show it to our neighbors – sometimes at great risk. Being a person of compassion takes courage!
This Sunday we explored the story of four friends who brought their friend to see Jesus. They had to overcome so many obstacles to help their friend. This was no easy task. You can read the story in Mark 2:1-12. Showing compassion often involves a bit of courage. We might think we only need to […]
One of the worship songs in Greystone’s July 26 online worship service, “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” may not be familiar to some hearers. However, this text was penned by a very well-known writer of Christian songs, Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915). Ms. Crosby is regarded as one of America’s most important gospel song lyricists. “All the Way […]
Many years ago I worked at a summer camp for a church in Atlanta. As a part of my job, I was in charge of daily chapel services for our campers. Somewhere along the way, I decided to let the campers lead these services every Thursday. Each week I chose a different camper group to lead […]
The Scripture reading this morning is one most of us have read over and over again. Sometimes our familiarity can prevent us from seeing and hearing something new. When this happens, I find that art can help shed some new light on my own tired interpretations. This week as I prepared for our time together in worship, I found that to be true.
Dutch artist, Rembrandt, painted this piece called The Return of the Prodigal Son. Some have called it the mark of his own spiritual homecoming. He was fascinated by the hands of the father as they laid upon the back of the son who was returning home.
Spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen wrote a whole book about the parable (Luke’s Gospel) and the painting (Rembrandt), which also helps us find new ways to enter into the story. In that book he writes, “Rembrandt is as much the elder son of the parable as he is the younger. When, during the last years of his life, he painted both sons in his Return of the Prodigal Son, he had lived a life in which neither the lostness of the younger son nor the lostness of the elder son was alien to him. Both needed healing and forgiveness. Both needed to come home. Both needed the embrace of a forgiving father. But from the story itself, as well as from Rembrandt’s painting, it is clear that the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home.” (Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 65-66)
As we study scripture together today and consider how God is speaking to us through this oh so familiar parable, I wonder which child we are… and what kind of conversion awaits?