This Sunday we will read one of the most beautiful and comforting of the Psalms, number 84 that begins “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts. My soul longs, indeed it faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” Last Sunday someone shared that they forgot we were worshipping in West Newbury on May 28th and came to find the doors closed and nobody here on that Sunday morning. He saw the sign and then remembered, but for a minute he experienced the pang of what it would be like if the church did not exist. The lovelier we make this dwelling of God, the more our soul longs to be here.
This Sunday we will celebrate all we have done and do to fulfill the goals of our Identity and Aspiration Statement that are about being “a loving church family where everyone feels welcome and at home, appreciated and supported…. where we feel joy, peace and a steady deepening of Christ-like love and faithfulness among us.” We will read the famous Christ Hymn from Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:1-11) that offers a formula for creating beloved community, and the parable of the Good Samaritan where Jesus shows that formula in action (Luke 10:25-37).
We will sing “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling” (to the tune of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”) and the moving modern hymn “Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant” as well as the old favorite “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.” The Diverse Musical Traditions Team will lead us singing the last hymn, and it will also sing for the children the Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin song that Glen Campbell made famous, “Try a Little Kindness.” (You can watch Glen sing it live below.) The choir will sing a verse of “We Are One in the Spirit” as the Introit and Felix Mendelssohn’s “The Lord Is Mindful of His Own” as the Anthem. Organist John Atwood will play pieces by Pachelbel and L.-C. Clerambault.