Deeper, Closer, Wider

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Summary: We can learn a lot from Jesus’ response to death and suffering. Just two words show how Jesus dealt with tragedy.

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Yesterday in Manchester, England a man walked into a large performance venue as fans – many of them young women – were leaving a pop concert. He detonated a bomb, killing 22 people, himself, and injured over 50 more. Among the victims were many young people, and at least one child. It’s a heartbreaking tragedy.

There are so many ways to respond. We could assign blame: Who did this, and why? We can prescribe action: How can we keep this from happening again? It’s as if we think we can defeat evil on our own, if we just put the right plan in motion.

We can learn a lot from Jesus’ response to death and suffering. Just one verse – two words – show how Jesus dealt with tragedy.

Jesus wept.

That verse is often cited alone, as the shortest verse in the Bible. But it’s only part of the story:

[T]he Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

It’s as powerful an image as there is in all of Scripture: God Himself, incarnate… weeping for a friend. A friend he could have kept from dying.  A loss that left everyone asking the same question we ask now: “Why?”

We can learn from Jesus’ example. Before he offered an explanation, before he ran to a solution, before he raised Lazarus to life, he cried.  He cried. He cried for the people he loved. He cried with them. Out of his own pain, and empathy, he cried.

Today, may we all make space to grieve with those who lost their children, their beloved, to senseless tragedy. Not just in a moment’s thought, but with intention. With prayer. And with tears.

Under the Surface: Worship Thoughts

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Last Sunday, our Lexington campus Worship Leader, Trevor Panarello, took a moment between songs to share some thoughts on the meaning of worship.

As we continue to sing this morning, I want to take a moment to encourage you in your worship. I was up last night thinking about the songs we’re singing this morning, and one in particular, Christ Is Enough. I noticed the lyrics contained a lot of I’s and me’s rather than us’s and we’s. And then I remembered how a church-goer once complained to me that the songs we sing in church are too individualistic in their wording. So like any good worship leader, I began to change the lyrics around replacing all the I’s and me’s with us’s and we’s. Low and behold it didn’t fit at all and I managed to ruin the entire rhyme scheme of a great worship song. In that moment I had a conviction about my worship to God.

The words that I sing only begin to scratch the surface of what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth, because true worship comes from a place much deeper than my voice.

Worship essentially has two movements, the first transports us to the second. We sing in order to thank and lament. We pray in order to confess and commune with God. We listen to a sermon in order to be inspired and comforted. As we continue, let’s move our worship to a deeper place within our heart and express to our God His greatness.