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
God of the high and holy places where I catch a glimpse of your glory, above the low levels of life, above the evil and emptiness which drags me down, beyond the limits of my senses and imagination, you lift me up.
In the splendour of a sunset, in the silence of the stars, in the grandeur of the mountains, in the vastness of the sea, you lift me up.
In the majesty of music, in the mystery of art, in the freshness of morning, in the fragrance of a single flower, you lift me up.
Awe-inspiring God, when I am lost in wonder and lost for words, receive the homage of my silent worship but do not let me be content to bear your beauty and be still. Go with me to the places where I live and work. Lift the veil of reticence behind which I hide. Give me the courage to speak of the things which move me, with simple and unselfconscious delight. Help me to share my glimpses of glory until others are drawn to your light.
Rev. Jean Mortimer, Minister in the United Reformed Church, UK
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.
I don’t remember Who – or what – put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self surrender, had a goal.
From that moment I had known what it means “not to look back,” and ” to take no thought of the morrow.”
Led by Ariedne’s thread of my answer through the labyrinth of Life, I came to a time and place where I realized that the Way leads to a triumph which is a catastrophe, and to a catastrophe which as triumph, that the price for committing one’s life would be reproach, and that the only elevation possible to man lies in the depths of humiliation. After that, the word “courage” lost its meaning, since nothing could be taken from me.
As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man’s experience. Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it. Also behind each of the words from the Cross.
Dag Hammarskjöld, 1905 – 1961, Swedish diplomat, UN Secretary General
I thank Thee, Lord, for sparing me to see this morning, the blood running warm in my veins, the activity of my limbs and the use of my tongue. I thank Thee, Lord, for clothing and for food, and above all, I thank Thee for the gift of your darling Son Jesus, who came all the way from heaven down to this low ground of sorrow, who died upon the cross, that “whosoever believeth upon Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Our Lord, our heavenly Master, we ask Thee to teach us. Guide us in the way we know not. Give us more faith and a better understanding and a closer walk to your bleeding side.
I have faith to believe you are the same God that was in the days that are past and gone. You heard Elijah praying in the cleft of the mountain. You heard Paul and Silas in jail. You heard the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. I have faith to believe that you have once heard me pray, when I was laying and lugging ’round the gates of hell, no eye to pity me, no arm to save me. You reached down your long arm of protection, snatched my soul from the midst of eternal burning. You placed me in the rock and placed a new song in my mouth. You told me to go, and you would go with me; open my mouth, and you would speak for me.
For this cause we call upon you at this hour. And while we call upon you, we ask you please don’t go back to Glory, neither turn a deaf ear to our call. But turn down the kindness of a listening ear, catch our moans and our groans, and take them home to the High Heavens. We please boldly one thing more, if it is your glorious will, I pray Thee.
Deacon Washington Banks, Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1973
To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!