Where must we start if not with praise
and gratitude for all good gifts
and all good saints whose faith,
strong motivation, work of love,
and patience in hope, show their election
as your chosen people? God are you,
the Father of all who answer your call,
of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,
the true and living God, who raised
your Son from death and liberates
from coming wrath. Like Paul’s long sentence
in Ephesians One — he cannot stop,
but lists your many benefits,
all spiritual blessings in Christ the Lord —
we, too, go on and on, remembering
your mercy renewed every morning.
Dear God of heaven and earth, who looks
upon his people from glory’s throne —
again this day send down your kindness:
redeem, restore, enlighten, refresh.
Your power we need, your deep compassion,
your very presence is our desire;
with you we find contented peace,
eternal purpose in every hour,
unquenchable joy in deepest pain.
We turn to you, Creator of stars
and molecules, of body and soul —
all else we gladly leave behind.
Father, I fear to witness the judgment of man.
It starts with us. You shall call to account
What we have done with the treasure of the gospel.
Basically, we’ve sat on it. With notable exceptions,
We created isolated kingdoms, a people
For our own pleasure, doing what suits us.
If Israel paid dearly for its disobedience,
For insubordination, worship of idols,
Abandonment of the one true God, then how
Much more shall we, the blood-bought Church of Christ,
Stand guilty for surrendering our gospel task?
O God, I and my people have grievously sinned.
Be merciful, O Lord, and raise up a nation
That carries your heart, desires your sovereign will
Be done and all be drawn to you in love.
Your name will be exalted. Woe to us
Who fail in the one thing we have to do.
For ’tis a fearful thing to fall in the hands
Of the living God for whom failure is not an option.
The days are dark, the time of the devil;
But the Light will break, the Lord descend,
The blessed truth will blind the unrighteous
And lead the saints to live with God —
Oh, come, Lord Jesus — call us home —
We groan in spirit, the grim existence
On earth is not for us, your people!
Your strength sustain our way, O God —
Your mercy be ours for many days.
God of lights and souls,
lift us up to heaven,
raise us by your Spirit,
liven us for your presence,
give us peace within,
joy that bubbles over,
purpose of life and action.
Lord of man and beast,
look upon your people,
save us in your mercy,
shelter us in your shadow,
bless and make us blameless,
yours are power and glory,
ever and ever, amen.
Surround me with your rousing love,
Awaken me from this worldly slumber;
Draw me not to dreams of greatness,
Save from Satan’s lies and sin;
Give me, Lord, your garb of glory,
A double portion, to deaden desire
For the pride of life—impress in me,
Upon my soul, the powers invisible—
Surrender your servant to mercy’s song.
O Savior! Work in me your righteousness,
And let me welcome suffering in my soul,
My time to learn my weakness, find your strength,
And grow in purity and holiness. Continue reading
O God of all comfort, ease the pain of those who mourn,
Give focus to him who lies between two paths, confused and torn;
Give time, another day, for change, to him who hesitates,
Fulfill deferred hopes and distant dreams of the one who waits;
Give bread and drink to empty stomachs, clothe the naked boy,
Give homes to homeless men, infuse the broken heart with joy;
Hold up the hands of the weary, put strength and courage in trembling knees,
Secure the lonely traveler, protect the sailors on stormy seas;
All this and more, O Lord, we ask, of you, the Father who cares,
And make us more the family who with the needy shares.
Thank you, Lord, that on the final day, there’ll be no surprises, no changes, no last-minute amendments to the new covenant. For you have signed it in the permanent ink of your Son’s blood and sealed it with your Holy Spirit.
In Christ, what a comfort to know that we will be judged according to what we have done in the body, according to the mind of our Lord which we have shown to others, mercy for mercy, grace for grace, love for love!
For reproducing in me the image of yourself, by the power of him who raised Jesus from the dead, I praise you, O God!