NEPC Music has adapted a new statement of mission and identity:
NEPC is a community of worshipers who glorify God, serve one another, and lead in worship.
What does it mean to serve one another?
Much of life happens around tables – each serving various portions of life. Consider tables of content, dining tables, and communion tables, just to name a few. Granted, these are tables of extremely different sorts, but there is something which they all have in common. They each require those who serve and, in our Christian community, each point to One main person and provide nourishing substance.
The Table of God’s Word
Consider the value of a table of contents, most particularly if you are holding a Bible. Within the pages of God’s Word are letters of life. Each book and chapter contains life-sustaining Words from which we literally eat and digest spiritual food. With Jesus as the Author and Perfecter of our faith, we have full assurance that from His mouth, the Word has been breathed. Still, faithful servants were necessary to pen, protect, and proclaim God’s Word.
Jesus is our ultimate example of what it looks like to serve. On this earth, He was the Word incarnate and walked each step as the perfect servant. Old Testament covenant was carried forward, His followers wrote personal accounts, and letters were scripted that have been canonized and conveyed century upon century. That provides us the privilege to serve one another with the perfect content of God’s Word, sharing and partaking of His Word. The public proclamation and preaching of God’s Word serves and sustains the Body. Individual study, meditating on the Word serves the Body as we learn to walk out and speak the truth in love, to serve each other in ways that mirror each word that comes from God’s table of contents. From the conception of God’s Word in the most ancient of times and in the midst of his suffering, Job pointed to God’s Word, saying, “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food“ (Job 23:12, ESV).
Our Christian musical heritage feeds from the very Word of God. Upon the pages of hymns, contemporary praise songs, choir anthems, notes written for God’s glory, our minds and hearts sup on God’s life-giving words. When set to music, God’s Word satisfies the very thirsts of our souls. Martin Luther once said, “My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” We drink in music’s comfort as a sick child would sip on life-restoring broth.
The Table of Fellowship
Jesus walked, breathed, shared life and ate together with His followers and the people around Him. When Zacchaeus climbed to the top of a tree simply to catch a glimpse of Jesus, he found himself hosting Jesus at his own table that evening! When the disciples caught nets full of fish with Jesus’ supernatural depth-finder, they then gathered around a fire of fellowship to share their freshly roasted bounty. When a little boy showed up with five loaves of barley bread and two fish, Jesus blessed, divided, multipled, and shared that boy’s lunch with 5000 people, the surrounding fields becoming their tables of fellowship. Just as Jesus did, we serve one another as we literally dine and break bread together. When we come together over food and intentionally fostered-fellowship, our entire beings are nurtured and fed. As a community of worshipers, the time we share eating – learning each other’s stories, laughing, crying, bearing each other’s burdens and rejoicing in the goodness of life – all feed our mutual Body and give us life.
What do we do when a friend is celebrating? We share food!
What do we do when a friend is grieving? We provide food!
What do we do when a friend is suffering? We offer food!
There are many ways we serve one another – praying for, running errands, helping with physical needs, but so often along with those tangible services, our responses carry food to whatever situation and emotion surrounds a member’s table. NEPC Music serves tangibly through our Sunshine ministry – transporting care, prayers and love to members’ tables, often through the language of comfort foods.
The Table of Communion
Most importantly, the table of communion symbolizes the greatest act of service lavished upon us. It is the table that commemorates and causes us to mediate corporately on the sacrifice of our Savior, His death, and resurrection and His selfless covering and forgiveness of our sins. The body of elders and pastors serve as we share the symbols of our faith. Communion represents our Savior’s body and blood. The sacraments of communion are integral to our belief and faith in Christ Jesus as LORD of lords and King of kings. For Jesus to have suffered our sins on the cross, to have died the most humiliating death possible and to have risen from the dead – on our behalf, for our sins – truly is the greatest act of service He could give. Jesus came and gave everything, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).
We serve one another by living lives that reflect the table of communion – modeling Jesus’ heart of forgiveness. Accepting His forgiveness for our own sins, forgiving the grievances of others, turning our cheeks in the face of persecution, reaching out hands and hearts of other-centered love, seeking ways we may serve one another in love as Jesus does for us!
In God’s grace, we serve one another by modeling His Word. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13, ESV).
To serve one another means we look and act differently than the world around us. We serve God by honoring and glorifying His name. We serve one another by showing each other honor, contributing to the needs of our church family, seeking to show hospitality, giving selflessly of our time, energy, and compassionate love for our Body of believers and out into our surrounding community. So, we join with Jesus at the table of His Word, at the table of fellowship, at the table of communion, celebrating Him and serving one another in love. Gathered around the tables of our faith, we sacrificially offer everything possible while we have breath and life. One day, we will rejoice and praise our God around the most anticipated table, “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9, ESV).
What a glorious day that will be to serve our LORD, God Almighty, with eternal praises, and to gather around the perfect celebration table!
Maria Currey, Assistant Director of Music
Check out the songs we’ll be singing in Contemporary Worship (11:15am) this week: