Lenten Song Meditation: Week 1

Throughout the season of Lent, we’ll be posting various songs that will help us engage in this season. Music is a helpful way of engaging both our minds and our affections as we meditate on truths of Scripture. For week 1 of Lent, we’ll be looking at “Out Of The Depths” by City Hymns, which we played on the first Sunday of Lent in our time of confession. It’s based on Psalm 130. If you want to buy this song or album on iTunes, click here.

(Verse 1)
Out of the depths I cry to Thee, oh Lord please hear my call
O Lord be merciful to me, at Thy throne of grace I fall
At Thy throne of grace I fall

(Verse 2)
Out of the woeful depths I cry, from the depths of sin
Of evil done in days gone by, of evil now within
Of evil now within

(Chorus)
If Thou, oh Lord, should mark iniquities
Lord, who could then draw near?
But here I find forgiveness with Thee
That Thou may be feared, that Thou may be feared

(Verse 3)
Lord from the depths I wait for Thee, my hope is in Thy Word
All through the night ’till day is nigh, my soul waits upon the Lord
My soul waits upon the Lord

(Verse 4)
Lord here I find Thy mercy now, as ever was with Thee
Before Thy throne of grace I bow, Lord be merciful to me
Lord be merciful to me

(Chorus 2)
O Israel cast your hope upon the Lord
And in His Word do trust
He will redeem you from your sin
And raise you from the dust, and raise you from the dust

A few questions/observations as you engage with this song:

1) Note in verse 1 the basis on which mercy is requested: the throne of grace. We do not request mercy blindly hoping God may hear, but rather because God has called us to approach His throne of grace with confidence because of what Christ has done! Come with a humble boldness.

2) Verse 2 describes crying out from the depths of sin. Are you aware of sin in your life? Either in the past (“as in days gone by”) or currently (“evil now within”)? If you’re not aware of sin, ask God to graciously open your eyes to see it and in turn confess it.

3) Part of confession is in turn trusting God to forgive us and cleanse us through Christ’s work (1 John 1). As you confess, on what basis do you hope for forgiveness? Do you move into gratitude for God’s forgiveness in Christ (Romans 8:1) or do you get stuck in the confession, never moving on?

Bread & Wine—Recap & Photos

On November 15th, 2013, we gathered at Park Church for our very first Bread & Wine event (as part of ParkRenew, see below for more info). Bread & Wine was an evening celebrating Christ’s incarnation through bread, wine, art, & song. A month before the event, we invited artists to create artwork in response to the first few chapters of John and its implications (particularly the incarnation of Christ). We asked one of our photographers to capture images of 7 different people from Park Church in their workplaces who do very different jobs: a financial adviser, a barista, a hair stylist, a stay-at-home mom, a barista, a carpenter, and a nurse.

We hung the artwork created and photos taken, and then invited the church to join us for a meal and art show of the pieces created during that month. We provided freshly baked baguettes hand-crafted by a baker from our church and asked everyone to bring their favorite bottle of wine to share. We sang songs of praise and thanks to our generous and lavish God “from whom all blessings flow”. Our goal for the evening was to eat good bread, drink good wine, have good conversation, and ultimately to enjoy these to the praise of our God! We wanted to remind our people that because God is Lord, how we eat and drink and open our homes and work are affected. All things are to be done to the glory of God!

About ParkRenew: ParkRenew exists to advance the work of cultural transformation and renewal under the Lordship of Jesus, through the Gospel of Jesus. Our hopes are to see the confessional work of the church pushed into the corners of our world and to see it renew all parts of our city. The Gospel changes the way we think about everything, including business & economics, the arts, missions, sexuality, friendship, the realities of marriage, and living in a complex culture like the modern city.

Below are some photos of the event taken by Caitlin Fairly (http://caitlinfairlyphoto.com/).

Why Do We Follow the Christian Calendar?

There’s no clear command in Scripture to observe the Christian Calendar rhythm. So why do we do this at Park? Here are just a few reasons:

1) To Remember Jesus’ Story 
It’s a way to year after year remember and order our calendars & days around the Good News of Jesus and His Story. We are quick to forget Him, so observing the Christian Calendar is one of the things we can do to call our forgetful hearts back to its roots in Christ!

2) To Link Arms with our Forefathers
It’s a way to link arms with our forefathers from centuries before us who celebrated the Christian Calendar. The church was not born a couple years ago, but rather comes with a great heritage we join in.

3) To Prepare Our Hearts
It helps prepare our hearts for Christmas and Easter. Too often we hit Christmas & Easter completely distracted by everything else except Jesus’ birth or His resurrection. Not only does it help prepare us for Christmas (through Advent) and Easter (through Lent), but both Christmas and Easter are not simply days but also seasons. We’re allowed a bit more time to sit in them, worshiping our Savior, and thinking on these amazing truths!

4) To Humble Us
Lastly, it reminds us we’re a part of a much bigger Story. Eugene Peterson said, “When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”

If you’re looking for a couple books to read on the Christian Calendar, check out a couple below:

“Living The Christian Year” Bobby Gross
“Ancient Future Time” Robert Webber

Here are a couple Advent devotionals (one of which is free!):

“Good News of Great Joy” John Piper Free! If you want an actual copy, click here. We also carry them in our bookstore.
“Counting The Days, Lighting the Candles” Elyse Fitzpatrick. Includes activities for kids.