The Grass withers, the flower fade, but you stand forever, oh Lord. You are above all things and in you all things hold together. You have measured the waters with the hollow of your hand. You have marked off the heavens, you can measure the dust of the earth in a scale.
You do not need our counsel nor has anyone made you understand. For you are the author of the world. You are the pathway to Justice, you embody knowledge, and you are love. Yes, the source of Love. We praise you that in you, and you alone, do Justice and love abide together perfectly.
Your greatness is beyond our feeble understanding. We shudder at the fact that while we stared in to the sky this past week and looked upon a star, you made that star as you did all the others, and you know every single one of them by name. We affirm the greatness of your might and strength of your power.
You are an everlasting God. Creator of the ends of the earth and you do not grow faint or grow weary. Your understanding is unsearchable.
And we, your people, the church, the house of the redeemed, we children of your heavenly home fall so short of your infinite glory. We fool about with jobs, relationships, and our possessions as if we were the author of them all. We believe that in our freedom we can do with them as we please. Like the Jews of old, we even despise the good gifts that you have given us. We spend our money frivously, we watch immoral movies, sing along to blasphemous songs, and laugh at things that you scoff at. Instead of expressing thanksgiving, we grumble about the church you’ve given us. Instead of serving the family you’ve placed us in, we’ve slandered our mom’s and dad’s, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncle, yes, even our husbands and wives, sons and daughters. We’ve worried about foolish things and we’ve been more interested in things on our screens than we’ve been interested in Christ in our Bibles. We confess that we even find it easier to talk about almost anything with our brothers and sister in Christ except Christ Himself. We here at Restoration Church are a mess! If you kept a record of sins, who could stand?? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be feared!
Yes, with you there is grace upon grace. We rejoice that you penned the words, “While we were yet enemies, Christ died for us.” We rejoice that you made Him who knew no sin to BE sin on our behalf, that in Christ WE …yes we…the same people who just confessed all those things might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God!! Wonder of Wonders! You pardon, you forgive us all of our sins and lavish us with infinite grace! We love that you use the weak things of the world to shame the wise. We love that you use us broken people to highlight your sufficiency! Christ! HE is all we have. Were it not for Him, we would all be dead in our trespasses and sins. But in Him we have life, and life eternal! And in this we rejoice and live with hope in a world that seems to lack hope. You have set eternity in our hearts, and it is all by your grace.
And so, with thanksgiving, we plead with you to magnify your infinite grace in our lives as a church. Lord, we pray that you would use this church to be a beacon of light to Ward 3 of Washington, DC! Use us, use us to be your hands and feet. Use us to tell the poor of the riches in Christ Jesus. Use us to speak to the disenfranchised that there is a home in heaven for them. Use us to tell the rich that they need to be poor in spirit. Rid us God, of our preoccupation with ourselves and our own image, and fill us with a greater passion for the spread of your glory all over this great city.
Give us a kind of holy boldness that cannot be explained but for your Spirit. Give us a kind of courage that fears you more than it fears our fellow man. Grant us a vision for reform that connects back to the courageous saints of history that believed mountains could be moved. Lord we pray that you would use our varied gifts in the fields of economics, language, law and science, health, theology, philosophy, art and accounting, and athletics and teaching, just to name a few. Use these gifts of ours for your glory and the good of our neighbors here in NW DC. Why not, Lord? Why not use this little church to more powerfully tell a better story than the one the Evil One is telling so many around us? Why not? We recognize these things are beyond us, but they are not beyond you. So we place our hope in you, God. We place our hope in you to be salt and light.
We need your grace. We need an ever present reminder of your love because we forget it all too often. We need Jesus–the author and perfector of our faith. Without Him we have nothing and can do nothing. But with Him we have everything and nothing is impossible. So, teach us and teach every Gospel-believing church in this city and every city around the world that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. Teach that to the churches of Indonesia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Make us willing to suffer for your Name. And do it all, we pray, for the glory of Christ and the good of your people. Amen.