Describing a worship service as “full” can mean a number of things. It can mean the worship space was packed with people, even necessitating extra chairs. It can mean the liturgy was rich and robust, including a baptism and new songs. It can also mean a service that left the congregation brimming with God’s grace and an overflow of praise for him. On all those accounts, January 29 could rightly be described as “full.”
We were privileged to have Rev. Karen Campbell of Ballyclare, Northern Ireland preach the Word to us. We were thrilled to meet many visitors joining us from the Calvin Symposium of Christian Worship. We were also delighted to witness the baptism of one of our newest and littlest members. January 29 was also the Sunday where we had the honor of premiering this year’s winner of the COS New Psalm Contest.
From a pool of many quality entries this year, Browning & McGrath’s “Sustain Me, O God” became the judges’ unanimous top choice. Composers Carol Browning & Kathy McGrath say this about their composition:
Psalm 16, a psalm of trust, is often translated with a first line of “Protect me, O God,” and speaks of our dependence on God. In some ways, this felt like a “passive” approach: “Protect me, God – you do all the work.” By changing “protect” to “sustain,” the tone becomes more “active”: “Give me strength and grace to face whatever comes, God, as I stay rooted in you.”
“Sustain” also has Eucharistic overtones. God provides manna, the bread of life, the real sustenance for our journey.
We are living in uncertain times. Instead of fearing what lies ahead, we can sing “Sustain me, O God,” and trust in our loving Creator’s goodness, mercy, and compassion.
We were also pleased to be joined that Sunday by Carol Browning, who not only worshipped with us, but also led us in song by sitting in with the COS choir.
You can listen to Carol and the congregation of Church of the Servant singing “Sustain Me, O God”