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Synod 2023’s Service of Prayer and Praise Encouraged ‘Yes’ to God

Young worship participants at the Sunday evening service for Synod 2023 carry a cross, a symbol of Christ’s love, and a baptismal pitcher, a symbol of the Spirit.
Steven Herrpich

Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, Mich., welcomed participants of the Christian Reformed Church’s Synod 2023 to a service of prayer and praise Sunday evening, with denominational staff and people from the local community. 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, Church of the Servant is the host church for synod, which is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids. Readers, musicians, and worship leaders from the congregation led a liturgy that included responsive readings, hymns and songs, and tangible symbols of light, Word, love, and service. Karen Campbell, one of the church’s two pastors, preached. She focused her message on Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth.” 

Campbell contrasted this with the story of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) where the people wanted to settle and build in the land of Shinar rather than “being on the move with God.” She continued, “Maybe you’ve settled in Shinar tonight,” but she encouraged, “Get up from your Shinar and start saying ‘yes’ to God.” That ‘yes’ for Campbell includes the “fill the earth” command from Genesis 1:28, not settling in one space and keeping to those who are like you.

“We have a Savior who is meek and lowly, and no matter how deep we sink, God is there, and he will lift us up,” when we walk out with him, Campbell said. She went on to share about a ministry with Rwandan widows who found joy worshiping God through song even in their deepest grief. Campbell shared that no matter the circumstance, people can still witness to God’s goodness.

Campbell concluded her message by asking the congregation to discuss amongst each other how each of them could embody meekness this week to glorify God.

The service ended with the Lord’s Supper, where participants went to the front of the church and passed the elements to one another, while the worship team led the congregation in singing, including “In Christ Alone” and “Who is Like The Lord Our God.”

Synod 2023 is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at Visit for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.

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