The following is part of the Great Thanksgiving for Holy Communion today, Pentecost Sunday. It picks up on themes from the sermon for today…
It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to You, oh God, for through the name that is above all names, Jesus, You made a name for us through faith by the Holy Spirit. You have revealed the truth of who You are and have sealed our names in the Book of Life. You have given us peace and intimacy with You and have promised us a seat at Your table. Oh God, our Father, You are worthy of all worship, and so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…
The congregation that I serve has been renting space for 10 years but today we looked at a potential building to buy. There are a lot of questions to be answered yet, but hopes are running very high with people. Selfishly, I/we want this building, but God is in control, and so we need to pray; listening and obeying. The following poem was birthed out of this praying…
To follow God is never easy To follow God can make you queasy But to keep your eyes on Him alone Is to have your vision fully honed.
So trust and trust and trust even more And God will present an open door So don’t create your own self-made path For you won’t enjoy the aftermath
Today is Ascension Sunday and thus I will be preaching on Luke 24:44-53. The following is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion with this context in mind. Stand firm for the Truth and never, ever shrink back in fear…
It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. You have shown us Your glory through Your son Jesus Christ. You have opened our eyes to the Truth. You have cradled us in Your arms. You have given us hope. Oh God, Creator and Redeemer, through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection we rest secure. My we live as bold witnesses of that Truth that others may come to know You as their Lord and God. May we not shrink back but stand firm; ready to die if called to do so. And so, since we have such a sure and certain hope we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8 ESV]
Witnesses don’t share their opinions.
Witnesses don’t share their theories.
Witnesses don’t speculate.
Witnesses don’t guess.
Witnesses tell the truth.
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
So helped by the Holy Spirit.
And YOU, Christian, are called to be a witness for Jesus.
You’ve been subpoenaed by Jesus.
But here’s the thing…
The Holy Spirit will give you power to witness.
Jesus doesn’t send you empty-handed.
Jesus sends you equipped.
Jesus sends you.
Jesus goes WITH you.
You are not alone.
Don’t be afraid of the Truth.
Proclaim the Truth boldly and if the world hates you, then so be it.
Jesus loves you.
You are witnesses.
So go and give them Jesus.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.“ [John 14:1 ESV]
Oh, why do you have a troubled heart? Why do you worry about tomorrow? Why do you worry about this life? Oh troubled heart one, Why do you get anxious about trivial things? Why do you obsess about that which you can not change? Why do you fear this world? Oh, why are you so troubled? Why? Do you not trust Me? Do you not understand that I have overcome this world? Have you forgotten how much I love you? My child, There is nothing I can not handle. There is no trouble too big. There is no challenge too difficult. There is no obstacle too tall. There is no opponent too strong. I can handle it. So why is your heart troubled? Do you need a reminder, well, do you? Look at the cross – look at the tomb of Jesus, What do you see? Nothing? That’s because Jesus has risen. I have overcome the world. Through Jesus, I have overcome the world for you. Now, let’s discuss this troubled heart thing, shall we 🙂
I thought I would share with you a portrait of myself drawn by my 6-year-old daughter. Notice my (out of season) Lenten stole (my daughter’s favorite color). Arms out-stretched (as I can be animated in the pulpit). And of course, “God is good“. Behind me is the cross (a very happy daddy here that my daughter included that). Apparently I am a ghost since I have no legs, but far be it from me to critique a 6-year-old’s artwork. I am not sure what the red is at the bottom. Maybe I am jumping out of the flames because the Holy Spirit is red hot that day. Who knows, but I love it. But the following is my favorite…
This one is titled (in her own words), “God’s radiance”. Yup, I like that. No further commentary needed.