In this week’s Church at Home, we look at the book of Psalms and a powerful lament poem found in Psalm 88. The book of Psalms tells a complete story, and the individual poems follow a common narrative structure. But Psalm 88 is a bit different, seemingly breaking from this structure and laying bare the depths of the psalmist’s hopelessness. The psalmist’s only prayer here is “help.” And sometimes, when the darkness around us feels like more than we can handle, a cry for help might be all we can muster.This psalm is an important reminder that there is no need to sugarcoat or make our pain presentable before God. He hears the cries of his children even when we hardly have the words to communicate. As you meditate on this passage this week, think of this psalm as an invitation to bring your suffering before God, knowing that he cares deeply for his people.
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In this week’s Church at Home, we are looking at the Hebrew word me’od, which is translated as strength in the ancient Hebrew prayer known as the Shema. In the prayer, listeners are called to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and me’od (that is, strength). But the Hebrew word technically means “very” or “much.” So while it might sound funny, this famous verse could also be translated, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your muchness.” What do you have much of? Sometimes we love having much instead of using what we have to love God and others. How do we avoid hoarding our muchness to enjoy the freedom of loving God with everything we are?
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In this week’s Church at Home, we’re looking at Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus—a diverse group of Jews and non-Jews from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Ephesians didn’t have much in common, yet Paul is very clear that in the family of God, all are equal recipients of God’s grace through Jesus.Societies have always categorized people into different hierarchies of value, but Jesus came to create a new humanity that is unified across all dividing lines. What does it mean to be a new unified humanity in a culture where followers of Jesus can be found on both sides of many controversial issues? How can our allegiance to Jesus compel us to have patient and meaningful dialogue with those whose views differ from our own?
Read more: Church at Home: Ephesians
In the opening pages of the Bible, God creates a garden, and right in the centre is the tree of life. God gives humans living breath, and with this tree he offers eternal life. In contrast to this gift stands the tree of knowing good and bad, and eating from it, God warns, causes death. The two trees pose a vital question to humanity: Will we rely on God for wisdom and eternal life, or will we defy God’s warnings and define life by our own understanding?Today’s news is full of people claiming that they know what is good and bad. And there is a strong temptation to come up with our own assessments as well. But when we do, it leads to shame, fear, broken relationships, and ultimately death. In this week’s Church at Home, we’ll explore what it takes to avoid the false trees of life and live into what’s real.
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