Sunday, July 12, 2015

Here is the church and here is the steeple; open the door and here are God's people.

David danced before the LORD with all his might. 2 Samuel 6:14

And last night I watched a distressing movie that actually I thought I had wanted to see: Kingsmen. It had been billed as a sort of humorous James Bond movie and it had the token bulletproof umbrellas, the brilliant-yet-crazed bad guy, the perfectly tailored suits and a swirled martini. And then it was chock full of every sort of maniacal taking of human life imaginable.

But most unnerving of all, even more than the mother shredding apart a bathroom door so she could strangle her two-year-old daughter was the scene in which the members of a small country church attack each other with hymnals, coat racks and pews until all lie bloody and lifeless in heaps. And the story is told in such a way that the audience is cheering each dead body because The Church represents all that is hateful and foul and cruel in the world and it is the first step in purifying and restoring an earth spinning its way to destruction.

And I lay under the stars last night by the table fire and grieved. And certainly it is A Lie nurtured by the Evil One that this is the fellowship of the followers of Jesus are only united by angry finger-pointing and name-calling. But I grieved every instance in which I, His child, have joined in judgment and mercilessness, and thus lent fodder to this accusation.

And this morning I joined a small group of followers celebrating His name in a similarly white and steepled building. And I soaked in scripture reading and the ancient hymns and the truth that there is a wideness in God’s mercy and that He is to be praised. With all of my might. Again and again, as I carefully copied the photocopied program into my notes. May this be the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.

Come, let us worship Almighty God.
Let us lift up our songs, our prayers, our praises.
Come, let us honor Christ Jesus.
            Let us love Christ with our hearts, our minds, our spirits
Come, let us be filled with the Spirit of the Living God
            Breathe in us, Breath of God
Alleluia, Amen.

• • •

Confession and Assurance
O God, You are all around us and in us.
            We thank You for Your presence.
From the east we hear You call us to freshness and newness of the day
            Deliver us, God, from our broken hearts and incompleted dreams
From the south we hear You call us to warmth and growth.
            Deliver us, God, from hard hearts and cold hands.
From the north we hear You call us to the refreshment and peace of a cool, bubbling spring.
            Deliver us, God, from our boiling, destructive unforgiveness.
From below we hear You offer us a solid foundation,
            Deliver us, God, from our unstable faith.
From above we hear you call us to life beyond what we experience here.
            Deliver us God, from our limited perception.
Praise be to God!

• • • 

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me;
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

• • • 

Let the words of my mouth
And the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord our Strength and our Redeemer.

• • •

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in His justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in His blood.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at His word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

• • •

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God above, you heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.