In This Issue:
From the Director
Community and the CCEL
Thanks for your feedback on CCEL strategic planning after the last newsletter. It was helpful, so I'll give it another try.
Community is a fundamental part of the Christian life. Community makes possible the love and hate, the learning and growth, that give value to life. Nevertheless, not all of the Christian life is community. We worship in community but we pray in the closet. We minister in public but we prepare in the desert.
Reading books seems to be an inherently solitary activity, if for no other reason than the single-user nature of the technology. Reading also seems commonly to be associated with an inward focus. However, that is not exclusively the case. Classrooms and book study groups are places where we come together before or after solitary reading. There we learn from, encourage, and inspire each other.
One of the strategic questions I have been thinking about for the CCEL is the place of community. Do online forums and discussion groups help with the CCEL's mission of making classic Christian books available and promoting their use? Can they be improved? Are there other ways community aspects could usefully be added--for example, having the option of sharing your notes on a passage with others? Please send us your comments and suggestions.
Knowing the Power of His Resurrection
CICW provides numerous, free worship service outlines through its website at http://worship.calvin.edu/resources/. Each worship service outline typically contains liturgical readings, sermon notes, music notes, liturgy notes, and prayers. "Knowing the Power of His Resurrection" is one such sermon outline which relates to the focus of this month's CCEL newsletter. We hope you find this and other CICW worship materials worth the read.
View this Worship Service Outline at CICW
What We're Reading
Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement
Neander believed that as a historian, he had a duty to retell Jesus' life story in writing. Like an artist who paints a picture of Jesus according to his or her vision, Neander was inspired to produce the image of Jesus as a historical teacher and figure. This investigation into the life and ministry of Jesus begins with his birth and childhood. From there, Neander explores the culture in which Jesus lived before his public ministry began. Then, Neander provides readers with a descriptive analysis of Christ's public ministry, first giving us a detailed account of Jesus' time in preparation for his ministry. While studying the public ministry of Christ, readers will discover fascinating details about Christ's method, his miracles, and his selection and training of the apostles. The author even examines the individual encounters that Jesus had in a variety of different cities that he visited during his ministry. Neander's historical investigation of Jesus' life and works is an incredibly edifying project that will enlighten Christians in their spiritual studies.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
"Christ the Lord is Risen Today" by Charles Wesley(1708-1788)
In every worship service, the words we say and the actions we participate in are somehow shaping us. Perhaps without even being aware of it, worship is doing something to us – it’s forming habits and language inside of us to both teach us why we are in relationship with God, and how to be in relationship with God. One practice that many liturgists and hymn authors have brought into worship is describing an event that happened in the past (usually a moment from the Gospel story) as if it were happening today, in order to instill in us the understanding that, just as God worked in the lives of people two thousand years ago, He is still working today.
The hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is a perfect example of this. Right in the title is an indicator of the present tense: the word 'is.' As we sing this song, we are first brought back two millennia as 'witnesses' of the resurrection, and then we are also made aware that though the actual event of the resurrection happened once, it is in a sense an on-going event with ever-present effects. We are called today to follow our risen Lord in newness of life, and to ever lift our “alleluias” in praise.
Henry Edward Manning's Fourth Volume of Sermons
“Sermon XXI: Life Everlasting” John 11:25
Manning's sermon outlines how Christ's resurrection makes possible our eternal life. He discusses how our current life is linked to our eternal life and describes on what we should focus our lives: "Let us learn to count all things 'but loss, that we may win Christ,' and at that day 'be found in Him;' that we may know Him, and the power of His resurrection; working in us with a new and vivid life, awakening our whole soul, to live by Him, to Him, and in Him, if by any means we may attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
This well-written and relatively short sermon reminds us of the importance of Christ's death and resurrection, and it's worth the read."Read this sermon at CCEL