Friday, February 10, 2006

Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting at Shadyside: 4. Of aardvarks and hippopotamuses

depiction of Christ, chancel of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, PittsburghWorship was an important part of the meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery on February 3, 2006 at the Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

We sang "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord" from the hymnal. (Do I dare to identify this as my favorite "Yale" hymn, written in 1800 by Timothy Dwight, the eighth president of Yale College?)

Pastor Jim Mead preached on Philippians 1:12-18. His sermon was entitled "Christian Community: Whose Reality?" Near the beginning of the sermon he told a one-liner from a TV show:

What do you get when you cross an aardvark with a hippopotamus?
I don't know, but you'll see a lot of strange people at the wedding.

He explained that Christian community is of those whom Jesus calls into community, and that we are invited to participate in a reality God creates, not one we create. Describing many issues along which Presbyterians are polarized he said, "I don't want to be in a church that doesn't include some of my sisters and brothers who vote differently from me on some of those issues."

Table prepared for Holy Communion at Shadyside Presbyterian ChurchAs our communion hymn we sang "The Church's One Foundation", and then participated in the Lord's Supper by intinction.

The Hunger Offering received at this service was $1023.

We also sang a new hymn, "We Look Outward, God of Blessing!" which was written by John Dalles in honor of The Rev. Carnegie S. Calian.

"We Look Outward, God of Blessing!"
(to the tune of Beecher)

We look outward, God of blessings, as we seek to serve and teach!
Guiding learners, leading leaders; help us, God, extend our reach!
May we join with Christ in doing, deeds of kindness, acts of care!
Aim us higher, peace pursuing: This, our promise! This our prayer!

We look inward, God of ages, Your great gift of joy to find!
You delight life's serried stages, You enlighten humankind!
Jesus, fill us, Jesus lead us, till Your freedom all may know;
Thankfulness, that You provide us, is for us to share and show!

We look back, God of creation, not with sorrow or regret,
But with deep appreciation, for the days none will forget!
Give us all a holy yearning, to embrace what we receive,
Boundless blessing, love and learning: Ours to hold! Ours to believe!

We go onward, God of Glory, grateful for your witnesses;
All who clasp and claim Your story, with compassion's selflessness!
Give us their determination! May we live as salt and light;
Light to banish trepidation. Salt to season with delight!

We look forward, God of Heaven, to a time beyond today;
For the hope that You have given, points to the ascending way!
As our faith forms each endeavor, may our acts, this world restore;
Grant us, God, to waver never: We go forward evermore!

My other articles on this meeting: 1 2 3 4 5 6

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