Praise to God our King

Jesus Christ enthroned / by Ted  / CC BY-NC 2.0
Before I call others to praise you, 
    my spirit will kneel down to honor you.  
Make me today a choir 
    with many songs and heavenly strings that praise you.
Before I explain the futility of human salvation, 
    I bow down to worship you.  
Before I knock at the doors of the strong, 
    I bend down to seek you.
Before I start unpacking my worries, 
    I sing and thank you.
 
You are the one who brings forth justice to the oppressed, feeds the poor, and releases the prisoners.  You freed the oppressed Joseph and Jeremiah from jail. In the lion’s pit, you were with Daniel, and you released Peter from chains.  Rhoda shared the good news that the Lord answers the prayers of the godly ones.  You freed your people from the chains of oppression, just as the prophets foretold.
 
You opened the eyes of the blind, and my own eyes have seen the glory of heaven.  How many eyes have been bound by moral darkness?  But with your light, they can see heavenly glories.  You have straightened the bent ones and have relieved our worries.  You have searched for the marginalized and taken care of the widows, the orphans, and the strangers.  
 
O Lord, rule over my country, and let the evil of the enemy end!
 
Yohanna Katanacho, 1967 – , Palestinian Israeli evangelical theologian
 
_________________________
 
 
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
   the Lord gives sight to the blind,
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.

Continue reading

Prayer for Election Time

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash  

Heavenly Father
source of all truth and wisdom, 
who knows and loves the whole creation,
watch over our nation at election time:
that truth may prevail over distortion,
wisdom triumph over recklessness
and the concerns of every person be heard.

Lord Jesus,
who chose the way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
help us to turn our backs on self interest
and to support policies that sustain the poor, 
the vulnerable and the frightened people of this world.

Holy Spirit,
who brought understanding
among myriad peoples and languages at Pentecost,
give to all your people a passion for peace
and inspire us to work for unity and cooperation throughout the world 
and in our political life together.

Lord, we give thanks for the privileges and responsibilities 
of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time,
that through the exercise of each vote, 
your Kingdom may come closer.

Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism, 
guard us against the idols of false utopias 
and strengthen us to make politics a noble calling 
that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen.
 
Unboxed Worship, Box Hill Baptist Church, Australia
 
___________________________
 
 
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Continue reading

Pondering the small ways

plumb bob by Wolfgang Sauber / CC BY-SA 3.0
 
We ponder at your greatness.
 
We bless you in your wonders of creation.
 
We magnify you for your miracles of deliverance.
 
We relish the news of your gift of
    newness given us in Jesus of Nazareth.
 
We make our doxology as large as we can,
    in order to match your
    massive presence in the world.
 
But then, in slow times and in lesser venues,
    we know you to be the God of small things;
        one widow and one orphan,
        one touch of healing,
        one lunch turned to much food,
        one small temple for a small people in a small city,
        one small scroll to power the small city.
 
On good days we are among those,
    who do not occupy ourselves
        with things too great and too marvelous.
 
It is enough that short of glory and magnificence,
    you hang in to make small places your venue for governance.
We are grateful for your “tidbits”
         that bespeak life among us.
 
Walter Brueggemann, 1933 -,  American Protestant Old Testament theologian
_____________________________
 
 
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

Continue reading

Our dwelling places

My dwelling places are many, Lord:
   my house or apartment, my dorm or condo;
   my neighborhood, parish and local community;
   where I work, where I study, where I pray;
      my dwelling places are many….

First of all, I thank you, Lord,
   not only for so many dwelling places in my day
but for the gift at each day’s end of a door
   to a place, to a room with a roof overhead,
      the place I call home, 
   whether large and spacious or small and cramped,
       a place to lay down my head at night and rest…
 
My dwelling may not be a castle, Lord,
   but how many in need would deem it a palace
for its locks and safety, its light and warmth, a fridge with food, 
   a shower and toilet, a bed and a pillow, an address for mail,
for it’s being a place to return to each night
   for being a place to call home…

I thank you for my dwelling place, Lord:
   let me not take it for granted
      and keep me generously mindful
         of those who have no place they might call home…

And how lovely is your dwelling place,   
   O Lord of hosts…

Your dwelling is the universe and all the heavens
   – and beyond the heavens, Lord…

Your dwelling has no roof, no walls,
   no beginning and no end…

The beauty of your dwelling’s beyond anything
   my mind might conceive or my dreams imagine
and yet – your dwelling place is with me and in me…

You who cannot be confined,
   you choose to dwell within my soul
      and make your home within my heart…

You, whom all creation can’t contain,
   you enter my humble quarters,
      the spare, simple chambers of my heart,
   and there, in Spirit, make yourself at home…

And, Lord, as you can see,
   I’m seldom ready for company,
      for receiving any guests at all,
         let alone, you, the greatest guest of all…

So, please forgive me,
   (indeed, forgive me, Lord!)
for my house is not in order, not yet or ever ready
   to be a place where you might dwell
      a place you might call home…

And yet, you come, you enter and you stay
   and you don’t leave, you don’t go away,
      you remain within me, always,
and in making my heart your home
   you make of your heart a home for me…

Amen.

Continue reading

Give them their daily bread

image / needpix

Lord, when we say ‘Give us today our daily bread,’
  may we remember our brothers and sisters
  who live below the poverty line
  and pray, ‘Give them today their daily bread.’
Give us the wisdom and courage to challenge the policies and structures
  which make the poor even poorer,
  while we have more than enough.
Grant us such deep compassion that we will not rest
  while surplus food rots in one part of the world,
  and families starve in another;
for your love’s sake. Continue reading