It’s funny how songs can stick with us and stay vividly fresh in our memories when so many other things fade.
Sitting here thinking about songs from my childhood is a mix of my daddy sitting and strumming his guitar and mama demonstrating proper rock ‘n’ roll joy.
I can hear my daddy’s voice sing about Jimmy Brown the poor newsboy and “standin’ on a corner in Winslow, AZ” as clearly as if I had been transported back to the floor at his feet as a tot. I can almost feel the wind on my face, riding in the car with my mama with Cheap Trick or Springsteen blaring to round out Daddy’s bluegrass and make sure my musical education complete.
But the song that is perhaps most vivid for me today is an old gospel chorus that I treasure more because of the eternal life with Jesus Christ it points to than the sweet memories it evokes:
I want to – I try to – I long to feel at home. But I just can’t anymore. And that’s good news.
Listen to how Paul puts it in Philippians 3:20-21:
Basically, if we belong to Christ, we no longer belong here. The earth that is where we live cannot compare with our heavenly home. This world is has been ravaged by sin and the Fall (Genesis 3). There are those who walk as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18) whose minds are set on their own appetites and “earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).
Furthermore, Jesus ascended from this earth (Acts 1:9) to Heaven (Colossians 3:1) and has prepared a place for us to be with Him there (John 14:1-3, 6)!
I can sit and focus on all of the negative aspects. I can dwell on the troubles that I see around me all the time. That’s easy to do – we are after all immersed in this world. Or we can look in expectation for the coming Savior. We can pray for Him to come to us. We can “seek the things that are above” where He is (Colossians 3:1)!
This is one of the reasons that gathering as a church here on earth is so important. Jesus has given us a group of people who live here whose citizenship is where He is. He has given us brothers and sisters who live out the same struggle and need the same Savior. We get to remind each other of Him and lift each other up. We get to “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). We get to be reminded that “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)!
There will come a day – a day more glorious than our feeble minds could hope to imagine – where we won’t have to hope anymore. On that day, our faith will be made sight and all of the sad days on earth will come suddenly and wonderfully untrue. On that day, Jesus will gather His people together from every land they are sojourning. All the citizens will be brought home, and a loud voice will declare our new normal:
Oh, the joy that awaits us – not Heaven but JESUS!
And that is what we are reading about in God’s Word and singing to Him about this Sunday, hoping in Him to help us put our focus on Him and what will be rather than the circumstances surrounding us in this weary land.
Here are the Scriptures & songs:
- Psalm 40:1-5 —
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
- Trading My Sorrows —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Galatians 2:19-20, 1 Peter 2:24, Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, Matthew 11:28-30, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, John 14:27, Nehemiah 8:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Psalm 30:5, Philippians 3:8
- How Great is Our God —
Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Psalm 145:1-3, Psalm 104:1-2, 1 Chronicles 16:31, John 1:5, Psalm 95:3, Titus 2:13, Lamentations 5:19, Psalm 135:13, Ephesians 1:21, Revelation 22:13, Matthew 3:16-17, Revelation 5:5-6, Philippians 2:9-11, Revelation 5:9-10
- Psalm 30 —
1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
- Your Great Name —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Acts 4:12, Luke 19:10, Psalm 106:8, John 3:17, Romans 8:1, 1 John 4:18, James 4:7-8, Revelation 5:9-10, Philippians 2:9-11, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, Psalm 107:9, Psalm 68:5, Matthew 4:24, John 11:1-44, Job 19:25, Psalm 103:3, Revelation 11:17, Proverbs 23:11, Revelation 17:14
- Graves into Gardens —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Psalm 34:10, Isaiah 55:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Luke 15:11-24, Romans 6:23, John 6:26-35, Revelation 7:13-17, Matthew 11:28-30, 1 John 4:8, Psalm 51:10, Jeremiah 24:7, Ezekiel 36:26, Romans 12:2, Psalm 37:4, Exodus 8:10, Deuteronomy 3:24, Jeremiah 10:6, 1 Samuel 2:2, Isaiah 40:18, Romans 5:6-8, Psalm 138:8-9, 1 Kings 8:39, 1 John 3:20, John 15:15, Psalm 139:7-12, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 30:11, Isaiah 62:2, Galatians 2:19-20, John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 15:20-49, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Exodus 14:1-31
- (invitation) It is Well —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Joel 3:16, Luke 8:22-25, Hebrews 12:2, 3 John 2, John 20:29, James 1:12, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Peter 5:7
- (offertory) Almost Home —
Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Philippians 3:20, Psalm 34:6, Psalm 61:2, Philippians 3:12-15, Revelation 21:1-4, Philippians 4:4-7, Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, Hebrews 12:1-2
We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!
We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!
If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!
We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.