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Psalm 91: A Psalm for Lent
Psalm 91 is the Psalm traditionally read by the church all over the world at the beginning of Lent. N.T. Wright imagines that Jesus, when he was tempted in the desert, memorized it “ahead of time and was already using it as a prayer, day by day, to help him through the tough test he was facing. And the devil, seeing he isn't going to succeed by a direct assault on Jesus’ senses or appetites, tries a different tack: ‘If you really believed this Psalm, then wouldn't you trust God so much that you could throw off the Temple? Doesn't it say he’ll send his angels to protect you? Perhaps you don’t believe it after all.'”
During this season of Lent when some of us deprive ourselves to help us focus on the Cross, it is easy to see how quickly we give in to our temptations. At the very least, our fasts are object lessons of our weakness as humans. If it’s so easy to sneak a chocolate let’s ask ourselves when we are under even a little pressure how easy it is to slander and lie and mistreat each other.
Psalm 91 is a song for us. It promises that under the greatest of pressures and temptations God is our refuge. His wings of mercy and grace enfold and protect us from the enemy without and the enemy within. This is where we find shelter: in the shadow of his wings. Let's say and sing Psalm 91 to each other this season. He is our refuge.
Paul van der Bijl
Director of Worship and Music
Covenant Presbyterian Church of Chicago
Parking & Transportation
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Vision & Values
2012 W Dickens Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map)
Just north of Damen & Armitage
Limited parking is available on Charleston next to the church. Also, for Sunday mornings, the surrounding neighborhood has open street parking.
By bus, use the #50 Damen route and get off at Dickens.
By train, take the Blue Line and exit at Damen, then use the #50 bus route north or walk a half mile.
By Divvy Bike, you can ride to the Damen and Charleson bike station near the church.
A church, a city, and a world continually made new by the grace of Christ
What would it look like for our church to be continually made new by the grace of Christ?
What would it look like for our city to be made new?
What would it look like for our world to be made new?
Our vision is to see ourselves, our city, and our world made new by the grace of Christ. We want to see the Kingdom of God become more and more present all around us. This vision comes from the language of the penultimate chapter of Scripture, John's vision of the Risen Christ in Revelation 21.5. John writes that he saw Jesus, seated on the throne, saying:
This is the reality toward which God's people, and, indeed, the entire world, are headed (Romans 8.18-25). Scripture is punctuated with the truth that, in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ, a new creation has begun (2 Corinthians 5.17, Galatians 6.15, Revelation 3.14, Colossians 1.18, Ephesians 2.15, 2 Peter 3.13, 2 Corinthians 4.6). The church is called both to proclaim this new creation as a present reality and to make it evident in this world. We do this by following Jesus' commission to make disciples (Matthew 28.18-20) and the command to love God and neighbor (Mark 12.28-34). In this way, we live out the prayer that Jesus taught us - your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6.10).
We play our part in this vision by focusing especially on our worship, teaching, relationships, and outreach. Here are the values that we want to have driving our worship, work, and life together:
The Gospel is our most cherished belief; it is our identity. The Gospel is the centerpiece of the life and ministry of the church. The Gospel is the good news that God, in His infinite love, became a human like us in the person of Jesus in order to be our representative (Galatians 4.4-5). He lived a perfect life, yet suffered and died for our sins, and then rose and ascended to sit at the Father's right hand and intercede for us (John 1.29, Romans 8.24). The Gospel is the good news that if we repent of our sins and put our trust in the perfect work of Christ, our sins are forgiven, we are adopted into God’s family, and the Holy Spirit comes into our life to change us – making us more like Christ (Mark 1.14-15, 1 Peter 2.23-24, Romans 8.14-15, Colossians 3.10). This is the good news that the whole world needs to hear, and that we, as God’s people, need to hear again and again. The Gospel is not only the way of entrance into the family of God; it is also the means of growth within that family.
We believe that the purpose of all of life is to glorify God, our Creator and Redeemer (1 Corinthians 10.31, Romans 11.36). Everything that Covenant does is intended to make God's worth more evident to all people.
Covenant is distinctly Reformed in both its confession and worldview. We affirm the guiding principles of the Reformation as accurately representing the truth of Scripture. This heritage informs all that we do.
While God has sent people to our congregation from every part of Chicagoland, we recognize that God has placed us in the city for a reason. We strive for the welfare of our city (Jeremiah 29.7) and are committed to having a local presence that is manifested through all of the particular ministries of the church, as well as in partnerships with other city ministries.
Relationships are the context in which growth in the grace of Christ is both experienced and measured. We are all in relationships – with individuals, with communities, and with our Creator. As a church, we are in relationships with other churches, our neighborhood, and our city. Covenant wants to foster and support healthy, redemptive relationships both individually and corporately.
The good news of the grace of Christ is the greatest thing that any of us has ever heard. We are called to minister that grace not only to ourselves, but also to the city and the world in which we live. Covenant is committed to a robust and comprehensive gospel outreach that encompasses both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.