Devotional – April 11, 2020

Saturday of Holy Week. Jesus is in the tomb. Not a word about this day in Scripture. Yet. . . A few minutes with 2 Peter 3:8-9, 11-12. God is typically up to quite a bit, even when we think he's forgotten all about us.

Today's Music: Caedmon's Call, 'Valleys Fill First'.

One of the very few songs I've ever heard that reference holy Saturday, Aaron Tate and Ed Cash recognize that when we're waiting for an answer that never seems to come, we're laid low - we're humiliated. There's a great book of Puritan prayers called 'THE VALLEY OF VISION.' The idea is, when we're completely exhausted of our strength, hope, or resources, we're far more likely to catch the vision of God's strength and sufficiency. If you're in that place, (and I think many of us are in this pandemic), let this day remind you that God's ways are different from our ways - they're better! (Isaiah 55:8-13)

https://youtu.be/DJyCYUtI0bA


Devotional - April 11, 2020

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Devotional – April 10, 2020

'By his wounds we are healed.' (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus taking on our sin is the glorious, mysterious grace of God on Good Friday. Artists and composers have sought to portray the significance and power of this for centuries.

Today's art: The Isenheim Alterpiece, crucifixion panel https://www.google.com/search?q=Isenheim+altarpiece+crucifixion&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj0yNmKst7oAhXtlXIEHd56BlAQ_AUoAXoECB0QAw&biw=1353&bih=742&fbclid=IwAR1DkWEaOUi68FyBzNg2xlVeBTeAoMRko75g_1kJuGjQv_jLUuVhpG9ANuc#imgrc=07JI4GnHYzSQoM

Rembrandt, The Raising of the Cross (1633) http://samluce.com/2019/04/rembrandt-and-the-cross-of-christ/?fbclid=IwAR2_4nlVQBcxroSjrJiKpTqkDcUpbO6wHMCSFD-eWjYNkDFxE7QUC5pPoKE

Today's music: John Davis, 'The Kind of Heart' https://youtu.be/toFMJIRtUW4

Jars of Clay, 'Liquid' https://youtu.be/YxWA_EnoIA8

Knut Nystedt: 'O Crux' https://youtu.be/Z-GhX2jG_Q4

Latin lyrics and translation: O Crux, splendidior cunctis astris, mundo celebris, hominibus multum amabilis, sanctior universis; que sola fuisti digna portare talentum mundi: dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulcia ferens pondera salva presentem catervam, in tuis hodie laudibus congregatam.

O Cross, more radiant than all the stars, honoured throughout the world, beloved of the people, holier than all things, which alone was found worthy to bear the light of the world: blessed wood, blessed nails, blest the weight you bore: save your flock assembled here to praise you.
(Venantius Fortunas 530-606 AD)

African-American spiritual: 'Were You There?', Kathleen Battle https://youtu.be/-Pt-boEUaAU


Devotional - April 10, 2020

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Devotional – April 9, 2020

Want to see Jesus leap off the page into your life? Look out for John's use of 'historical present tense' in John 13:3-5. Also: the little book we skip over that was the focus of Maundy Thursday worship for centuries. Painting: Ford Madox Brown 'Jesus Washing the Disciple's Feet' https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/brown-jesus-washing-peters-feet-n01394?fbclid=IwAR3B0H1iNHtEyvg-050BYpyFNKUM02zSmTtpK5GSy5lQf4FiK_Zbm_mMKmg

Music: Robert White, 'Lamentations 5' https://youtu.be/76JFXDNTUng

Knut Nystedt, 'Peace I Leave With You' (John 14:27) https://youtu.be/hID6U9aTdPc


Devotional - April 9, 2020

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Devotional – April 8, 2020

Why do they call it 'Spy Wednesday?' Perhaps we can use it to sneak up and slay some of our persistent sins. Join me for a look at Matthew 26 and Judas' betrayal of Jesus, as well as some of the ways we are - knowingly or unknowingly - causing grief to the heart of our Savior. Without a recognition of our complicit guilt, it is impossible to appreciate God's offer of imputed grace through Jesus.

Also: how hip-hop, as well as classical music, can be well suited to help us face our 'junk.'

Music today: John Sanders, 'The Reproaches' and Beautiful Eulogy, 'Messiah' Sanders mixes 15th century plainsong, 20th century harmony, and devastating words. https://youtu.be/scc7Lq7RE-o


Devotional - April 8, 2020

The Lyrics:

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Saviour to the cross.


O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!


Holy is God! Holy and strong! Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

For forty years I led you safely through the desert. I fed you with manna from heaven, and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Saviour to the cross.

Holy is God! Holy and strong! Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

What more could I have done for you? I planted you as my fairest vine, but you yielded only bitterness: when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink, and you pierced your Saviour's side with a lance.

Holy is God! Holy and strong! Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear. I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate's court.

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

I bore you up with manna in the desert, but you struck me down and scourged me. I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

I gave you a royal sceptre, but you gave me a crown of thorns. I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a cross.

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

Composer: John Sanders (1933-2003) Beautiful Eulogy, 'Messiah' can be found here: https://youtu.be/jSbPuNulyfo

Finally, I found a clean version of Kendrick Lamar's 'Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst.' Like Sanders, this is over 10 minutes long, but I also find this to be incredibly powerful: https://youtu.be/1dxuG02iYTc


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Devotional – April 6, 2020

Monday of Holy Week, 2020: What annoys Jesus is far more significant than what annoys me, thankfully! Join me for 8 minutes with Mark 11:15-19, Jesus' cleansing of the temple. How was it viewed? Why is it so important? Music for today: 'Christe Eleison' (Christ have mercy) from JS Bach, B Minor Mass
https://youtu.be/g1kdc2ZbM3U

and Andrew Peterson, 'The Cornerstone.'
https://youtu.be/uCYqA1KClpI


Devotional - April 6, 2020

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April 24, 2020 - COVID-19 update

April 24 COVID-19 update  (Click to download .pdf file)

April 24 COVID-19 update

 Dear Cup church family and friends,

Following our latest Session meeting this week, we wanted to share the latest decisions that we’ve made regarding our worship life together.

First, we will continue our online worship offering until further notice. Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order has been extended until May 8, but the step of encouraging worship gatherings (or gatherings of any sort in a group larger than 10) is unlikely to occur until some time after that. Personally, I would love to see us celebrate Pentecost together on May 31, but we will have to see how our current social-distancing efforts have worked in keeping infection numbers down. Please join us for our services at cupepc.org, and look for the short devotionals posted several times each week by Pastor Scott on Facebook and the church web page.

We have made the decision to continue to wait on serving communion until we can do so together. While the denomination has given permission to serve communion through ‘virtual’ services online, we have decided that while our desire to share the sacrament together is high, we’ve not waited such a long period of time that we have lost the effect of sharing in the Lord’s presence with us in this way. I’m attaching a link here (https://bellefield.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Communion-teaching-guide-EPC-version.pdf) to a good resource on our understanding of the Lord’s supper from a Reformed perspective. Bellefield EPC is close to the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Please let us know of your prayer requests and other needs. This is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us, but particularly so for those facing significant health challenges, the loss of work – or the level of work brought up to exhausting levels due to emergency needs. Please know that Cup church loves you and wants to pray for you, as well as provide for practical needs as we are able. Please leave a message at the church office (724-843-1594) or send an email to scott@cupepc.org or office@cupepc.org.

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:7) May the Lord bless and keep each of you until we are together again!

 

Blessings,

Pastor Scott