Wednesday, May 24, 2017

God in control of this out of control world of ours... A prayer of thanksgiving and confession and communal lament and affirmation of trust

I've been preaching my way through the psalms of ascent at a retirement village and in Psalm 124 and 125 we looked at Communal laments. Looking at how on a personal and societal level things are not at all good. One of the amazing things about these communal laments is that they contain some of the strongest affirmations of faith and hope in God... Lament goes along with trust. 

This week I'm preaching on Daniel chapter 5 which is a passage about the spirit moving in world history. It is again a passage that deals with the worst of human sacrilege and the decline and decay of empire, and in the middle of that God's sovereign hand, offering last minute grace but also changing empire. In the middle of that Daniel is faithful and willing to move and be where the Spirit moves... In my own inadequate way I've tried to tie this all together in a prayer for the service this Sunday... In the face of terror attacks at a concert in Manchester, continued civil war in Syria, famine in eat Africa, North Korean missile tests and the seeming swirl and whirl of political change.

The affirmation of the prayers of ascent and Daniel are that God is in control. That we are called to live out our transformative faith in Jesus Christ amidst this with the ministry of reconciliation, humble service and selfless love   of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It would be easy to find ourselves shaken to the core,

Distort and full of despair as we see what is happening around us

Bomb blasts murder teenagers and children die in civil war

Famine and conflict join hands to kill with hunger’s cruel grip

The dangerous bravado of sabre rattling with nuclear tipped missiles

The unsettling swing of ideology, and polarizing, politics of popularity  

Amidst the wrestle to know truth from well-constructed fake,  

Lurching from crisis to crisis, climate change and super bug

It is easy to wonder where it’s all going, spinning out of control

But amidst histories crazed forward dance

We stop and proclaim God’s hand is at work

The sovereign Lord, creator of all, is in control

Working his purposes by the Holy Spirit, in this world

Calling his people to follow Christ and to reconcile

Amidst it all God has sent his Son, his kingdom has come

Not in the clash of army or over whelming force

But in humble service and sacrificial love

In Jesus life, death and resurrection

God is at work, his plans for good and not for harm

His desire for people to be forgiven and made whole,

For justice and righteousness to flow

For those whom he has called and made his own

To see what the Spirit is doing and join right in

To be peace makers and Christ light bearers

To love one another as Christ has loved us

Witnesses to the hope and good news of Jesus Christ

Living as Kingdom of God citizens in the realms of this world

Righteous and Holy, God

The one who rules above the storm,

We give you praise for who you are, both sovereign and loving

We declare your goodness and grace that has bought us life

We pray for your forgiveness, for wrong done and good left undone

We thank you that in Christ the slate is wiped clean

We pray for the renewing presence of your spirit

That we might be your people, and do your will  

That we may live, and speak and act to your glory


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