My family and I went to Cape Disappointment recently – a beautiful Washington State Park situated where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. While at North Head Lighthouse in the park, I stood at the fence and stared at the vastness of the ocean. What a humbling sight. I wish my kiddos weren’t so antsy to leave so I could have gazed at this scene longer. How they weren’t amazing by this is beyond me. And so I started taking pictures (not that any picture(s) could do the ocean justice). While gazing for the short time I had, the following poem started to take shape. I just love how God works in awe-filled moments like this.
I stared at the ocean and stood there in awe, With my gaze fixed upon what I was seeing. The scene was vast and very overwhelming, But then a great thing happened that was freeing.
My thoughts started to drift and wander towards You, And in the blink of an eye Your grace appeared. I pondered the scene that was set before me, And now it’s Your love that’s in my brain so seared.
For I am a sinner undeserving of You. A lost soul that ought to be left with the dead. But that’s not my ending for You came to save. Jesus my Savior took Your wrath in my stead.
And now I have hope that there is more to this life. A full Life with You at Your Great Banquet feast. So much in this life has left me in despair. Now since I’m in Your love my fear has now ceased.
And so I thank You my God for this vast scene, For showing me that Your grace is more vast yet. Your faithfulness is great and so amazing. This moment is something that I won’t forget.
Today is the Parable of the Great Banquet; Jesus inviting the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to the table. He invites sinners – you. And so I am excited, once again, to proclaim this Good News this morning – from Luke 14:1-14. The following is the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text on my heart…
It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God – Father, Lord and King. For You have invited and exalted us to the Banquet of the Wedding of the Lamb to his bride, the Church. Though we are sinful, lost and disobedient, You bring us in and make us whole and holy. You make us new through Your Son, Jesus. You give us a place of honor through no effort or merit of our own. You give us Life and hope in a world that would have us fend for ourselves; fighting our way to the top. You have turned things around and thus we can rejoice with You and dine at a Banquet that has no end. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we join in singing Your unending praise…
Psalm 7:1–2 (ESV) ~ “O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.”
I am not strong or smart enough to contend with those who pursue me. I am not cunning or crafty enough to outwit them. I am not bold or brave enough to stand up to them. I am not able to save myself from those who would oppose you and thus me. Save me, oh God, save me. Many attack what I hold dear. They speak against the Truth. They accuse me. Like a lion they are ferocious and merciless. Nothing of this world can shield me. Nothing and no one can defend me. On my own I am lost, defeated, crushed, Oh God, I thank You that YOU are my fortress. You and You alone are my defender. You and You alone has slayed the lion, through Christ Jesus my Lord. You are my deliverer. You have saved me. You are my God. Amen!
The following chalk art was created by my imaginative 6-year-old daughter. It used to adorn the sidewalk in front of our home. Knowing that the lawn sprinklers would soon wash this masterpiece away, I made sure this was digitally preserved. This artwork, from the heart of a 6-year-old, inspired the following poem. To God be the glory!
Through death to Life, You give me hope. Through dark to light. I can now cope. For the cross rises above this broken world and life rises from within. I now have hope and strength for through Jesus Christ eternal life now begins. The sun shines, The flower blooms, Oh Lord my God my final place is not the tomb. And now my heart leaps for joy, I just can not contain it. My face radiates with love, Something that will never quit. So may the cross brightly shine, A hope for the world to see. My sins have been wiped away. That is Your loving decree.
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV
When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.
You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.
You and only You,
You are holy and true,
You are my hope and salvation.
There are no other gods who can stand,
all have been outdone,
none can prove to be the one.
Many try to dethrone You,
but all fall short,
Only You is praise wholly due.
But the battle rages on,
my soul is conflicted.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing,
trying to pull off a big con.
I become deceived,
straying from the way.
Listening to the lies,
oh God, my soul is grieved.
Forgive and restore,
remake, for You I adore.
May it be You who I follow,
for there is no other way.
The gods of this world,
are nothing, only hollow.
So dethrone the gods I’ve crowned,
Show me again,
That Jesus, only Jesus,
is the way to truly abound.