my merciful Redeemer

image / falco / pixabay
 
O Lord, I am you clay. You are my potter and skilled master.  Because you pronounce me a sinner, I accept your word.  I sincerely acknowledge and confess the godless condition which shows itself in my flesh and my entire nature.  I do so that you may be glorified and I humiliated.  As with all others, I am sin and death; you are life and righteousness.  Together with all people I am the worst evil; you are and remain the highest good.  I acknowledge and confess all this.  I am led to this confession not by my reason, which would rather cover up and disguise this godless condition, but through your law and promises, I want your honor to stay and increase.  
 
Lord, I am your sin; you are my righteousness.  Therefore I am glad and have victory without fear.  For my sin cannot outweigh or overpower your righteousness.  Neither will your righteousness permit me to be or remain a sinner.  Your Spirit, O Lord, must make and keep me alive.  Blessed are you, O faithful God, my merciful Redeemer.  In you alone do I trust.  Amen.
 
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
 
______________________________
 
 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 

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the royal way of humility

image / Wilrooij, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
My dear Lord and Savior, I come to you burdened and oppressed by many worries and slavish work, by an unbearable yoke, which I have imposed on myself because of my lack of humility.
 
It is a burden which I have deserved, but it is also the heavy yoke of a sinful world, of collective pride and arrogance.  We are tied together in this lamentable condition.  I groan and sigh, realizing my plight in this double slavery of mine and the world.  What a relief if I listen to your invitation, “Come to me all whose load is heavy”! Yes, now I dare to come.
 
The more I meditate on the crushing burdens you have carried in your humility, accepting even the most atrocious humiliation from proud and arrogant human beings, the more I am filled with grateful wonder.  In your divine glory and your human humility you are totally Other, so different from the close-minded and high-handedness of man.  You are the wholly Other, the only true God, so unlike man-made gods.  You have come into the valley of tears where misery is constantly multiplied by humankind’s ridiculous pride.  You come with the astonishing remedy, the humility of the Son of God, of the Redeemer, who has freely made himself “one-of-us” in all things except sin: the totally holy and humble One.
 
You come to us whose vanity and pride are odious.  You come on the royal road of humility, showing us that this is the way to you and to the heart of the Father, the way to the hearts of our fellow men and the way of salvation.
 
Humble heart of our Divine Master, I entrust myself to your school.  I want to learn from you, day by day, the royal way of humility.  It is your own love that teaches us.  
 
Lord, transform our hearts, make them mirror images of your own heart.  Make them fountains of healing for many.  Lord, make us humble.
 
Bernard Häring 1912 – 1998, German Catholic moral theologian
 
____________________
 
 
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
 

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Forgive them all, O Lord

image / pxfuel
 
Forgive them all, O Lord:
our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
our secret and our more open sins;
our sins of ignorance and surprise,
and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
the sins we have done to please ourselves
and the sins we have done to please others;
the sins we know and remember,
and the sins we have forgotten;
the sins we have striven to hide from others
and the sins by which we have made others offend;
forgive them, O Lord, forgive them all for his sake,
who died for our sins and rose for our justification,
and now stands at thy right hand to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
John Wesley, 1703-1791, English churchman and founder of Methodism
 
__________________________
 
 
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father
—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
 

blessings of home

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
 
O God, bless those who have no homes.
Bless those who have to live away from home
  in lodgings and boarding-houses and hotels.
Bless those who have been left alone,
  and who are solitary now.
Bless those who are searching or waiting for a house.
Specially bless young couples who have to live in furnished rooms,
  or with relatives, and who have never had the chance
  to be alone together and to have a home of their own.
Bless those who keep house for other people,
  and who have no house of their own.
Bless old people who are coming to the end in some institution
  which is very comfortable but which is still not home.
Help us who have the blessing of a good home
  to keep an open heart and an open door
  to those less fortunate than ourselves.
This we ask for your love’s sake. Amen.

from the Audenshaw prayers, UK
 
___________________________
 
 
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, 
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

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interceding for friends

image
 
My good Lord,
    I long to pray to you for my friends,
    but I am held back by my sins.
Since I stand in such need of grace myself,
    how can I dare ask for grace for others?
I anxiously seek intercession on my own behalf.
    yet even so I shall be so bold
    as to intercede for others.
You commend me to pray for my friends,
    and love prompts me to do so.
So I pray to you, good and gracious God,
    for those who love me for your sake
    and whom I love in you.
 
If my prayer does not deserve to be answered,
    please love them for their own sakes,
    for you are the source of all love.
And make them love you with all their hearts
    so that they will speak and do
    only that which pleases you.
My prayer is but a cold affair, Lord,
    because my love burns with such a small flame.
Yet you who are rich in mercy
    will bestow your grace not according to my prayers
    but according to the infinite warmth of your love.
 
Anselm of Canterbury, c. 1033-1109, Benedictine monk and archbishop
 
__________________
 
 
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. 
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  
And pray for me, too. 
Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan
    that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
 

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Jesus, medicine for our souls

Healing of the Lepers at Capernaum, James Tissot, public domain
 
Oh Lord Jesus, you are full of mercy,
    and also the almighty in the world.
Every day with you is better than the day before.
I am aware of your presence inside, always,
    even though my condition is life this.
Only you can share in my sufferings.
Oh, I am convinced that whatever sorrow I feel,
    you certainly feel it too.
My fellowship with you is priceless.
What can we do without you, Jesus?
You never leave your people in trouble;
    our debt is so big.
If we look to the Savior who suffered,
    we receive medicine for our souls.
Amen.
 
a leprosy patient, Indonesia
 
__________________
 
 
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross,
    so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
    “by his wounds you have been healed.”

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to show the likeness of Jesus

Last dinner / Sieger Koder
 
O Lord God,
You have commanded me to believe in Jesus,
    and that I would flee to no other refuge,
                               wash in no other fountain,
                               build on no other foundation,
                               receive from no other fullness,
                               rest in no other relief.
Hi water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross,
    may they never be separated in my creed and experiences;
May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of my sin,
    feel my need of a prince and savior,
    implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness,
    love holiness, and be pure in heart,
    have the mind of Jesus, and follow in his steps.
Let me not be at my own disposal,
    but rejoice that I am under the care of one
    who is too wise to err,
                   too kind to injure,
                   too tender to crush.
Help me to guide my affections with discretion,
                   to owe no one anything,
                   to be able to give to the one in need,
                   to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving,
                   to show to the world the likeness of Jesus.
 
 
___________________________
 
 
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
 

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resplendent Jesus, have mercy

 image / pxhere
 
O Lord; O King, resplendent in the citadel of heaven, all hail continually;
    and of your clemency upon your people still have mercy.
Lord, whom the hosts of cherubim in songs and hymns
    with praise continually proclaim, upon us eternally have mercy.
The armies aloft, O Lord, sing praise to you;
    those to whom the seraphim reply, ‘have mercy.’
O Christ, enthroned as king above,
    whom the nine orders of angels in their beauty
    praise without ceasing,
    upon us, your servants, ever have mercy.
O Christ, hymned by your one and only church throughout the world,
    to whom the sun, and moon, and stars, the land and sea,
    ever do service, have mercy.
O Christ, those holy ones, the heirs of the eternal country,
    one and all with utter joy proclaim you in a must worthy strain:
    have mercy upon us.
O Lord, O gentle son of Mary free;
O King of kings, blessed redeemer;
    upon those who have been ransomed from the power of death,
    by your own blood, even have mercy.
O noblest unbegotten, yet begotten Son, having no beginning,
    yet without effort (in the weakness of God) excelling all things,
    upon this your people in your pity, Lord have mercy.
O sun of righteousness, in all unclouded glory,
    supreme dispenser of justice,
    in that great day when you strictly judge all nations,
    we earnestly beseech you, upon this your people,
    who here stand before your presence,
    in your pity, Lord, then have mercy on us.
 
Dunstan, c. 909 – 988, English monastic and bishop
 
_________________________
 
 
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
    so that we may receive mercy 
    and find grace to help us in our time of need.
 

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to listen to others

image / Thomas Hawk / flickr
 
Lord Jesus, 
    you were ever ready to listen to those who cried out to you.
You gave us ears to hear:
    help us to hear.
May we listen to all we meet, 
    and to those who come to us in trouble.
Remind us daily that there is a time for silence and a time for speaking,
    and show us when to speak and when to hold our peace.
Never let us miss a cry for help, 
    because we are too busy talking about ourselves.
Make us ready to listen to others, 
    because we listen each day in silence to you,
O Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
 
Michael Counsell, 1935-2015, retired Anglican priest
 
________________________________
 
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 
    not looking to your own interests 
    but each of you to the interests of the others.
 

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to confess what the Lord has done for us

Jarena Lee, By Lithograph by P.S. Duval, from life by A. Huffy, Wikimedia Commons
 
God, you know the secrets of all hearts.
Favor us with your presence, O God.
Display your power by a general outpouring of the spirit.
May sinners cry for mercy, while others shout for joy.
May we be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God
    and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord has done for us.
May we never lose the witness out of the heart
    by withholding our testimony from our friends and neighbors 
    of your power to save.
May we not just run well for a season,
    and yield to the temptation of the tempter’s whisper
    saying “not now” 
    and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful.
May we “watch” and tell around what a dear Savior we have found.
 
Jarena Lee, 1783-1864, African American minister
 
______________________
 
 
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. 
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes
    —the Jew first and also the Gentile. 
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. 
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. 
As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

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