Worship Notes for Sunday, October 2, 2011
Today we center on the issue of our calling—not only our work but also the inherent dignity of being an imitation of our Creator God. In the Call to Worship from Psalm 100 we speak of the command to “serve the Lord with gladness” and to know that “it is He who made us, and we are His.” We respond by singing The God of Nature and of Grace who “in all His works appears; His goodness through the earth we trace, His grandeur in the spheres.”
In our Old Testament Reading, the writer of Ecclesiastes asks, “What gain has the worker from his toil?” He continues by affirming that joyful labor is part of God’s gift to man and that He makes “everything beautiful in its time.” Our hearts are led to Confession from Ephesians 5 where we are reminded that God has called us to be imitators of Him and to walk in love. However, we walk in darkness and take part in the unfruitful works of darkness rather than those things which are “good and right and true” that are the fruit of the children of light. The Charles Wesley hymn that follows sets before us a text that presents our labor in the light of the Gospel as that to which God has called us in His wisdom to reveal His presence and perfect will.
As we sing Rock of Ages during Communion, we are arrested by the line “Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands.” As we look to the high office of tending the earth and being productive as God has commanded, our tendency is to find our worth and identity in the things that we do—rather than in Christ. The sole sufficiency of Christ comes through clearly in this hymn as well as the second hymn, Approach My Soul the Mercy Seat.
Our final hymn, Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Holy Way calls us to serve the Lord in all that we are and do and all for His glory. The Benediction from II Thessalonians 1 expresses the grace of God to make us worthy of His calling to fulfill “every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power.” May His name be glorified in us.