I heard there was a secret chord
that David played and it pleased the Lord
but you don’t really care for music do ya?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift
the baffled king composing Hallelujah!
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name but if I did, well, really what’s it to ya?
There’s a blaze of light in every word;
it doesn’t matter what you heard
the holy, or the broken Hallelujah!
I did my best; it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I learned to touch
I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of song
with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah!
Oh! Yes, there is a God above
and we really need to learn from love
and not shoot at someone who outdrew ya!
We’ve seen the flag on the march arch
but love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah!
I know you came to rescue me
this baby boy would grow to be
a man, and one day die for me and you
Our sins would drive the nails in you
that rugged cross was our cross too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
I am a Las Vegas local, and as of today it has been one month since the horrific mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest festival that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 hundred others. In our current informational age, it is so easy to become numb to tragedy because these events appear to be so far away. This time it happened in my own city. This happened to people I know.
And yesterday, there was yet another senseless act of violence in New York that killed 8 people and 11 others injured.
My mind and heart just cannot comprehend why. I don’t know want to know why. I want violence to end. I search for answers but my human mind is confronted with it’s own limitations. Emotions rage violently within me. They crash and hurl feelings of uselessness. I am drowning in my own thoughts. What can I do?
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
We have become desensitized to the world around us. This must stop. Any violent act anywhere in the world is too many. Bring down the walls that divide cities and countries. We are all citizens of the world. What stops us from uniting in peace? What prevents us from doing something for those who are in need?
Yes, we must let go of things we cannot change but we should not let go of things that we can change. We don’t have to be numb. We don’t have to be unkind. We don’t have to be distant. We don’t have to be our differences. We can be kind. We can be the support that others need. We can listen and we can hear each other because we are united in the simple fact that we share the same humanity.
I don’t have the answers but I can see a potential first step of being the church. We can be the living embodiment of what is good and what is kind here on this earth. It starts with you and it starts with me. We choose. No one else chooses this for us. It’s time. #Bethechurch #VegasStrong #NewYorkStrong #HumanityStrong
Gracious and Almighty God, we’re here because, “relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done” (C.S. Lewis) and we “receive (our) nourishment by serving the will of the One who sent (us)”(John 4:34). Speak to us. Say something that compels us to hear truth that forces us to stop looking down on others and start looking above ourselves. We’re all sinners. And that’s ok because Grace covers all. So call us out from death and shame and encourage us to step out in faith onto the solid ground of the Living Word of God.
It’s time to release our fears and to be the church; “a community of healing not hiding, embracing not excluding, of life and not death” (Rev. Mike Kinman). “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for (us) to wake up from (our) slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). We do all of this, in the name of the Living God, Amen.
“Consider and answer (us), O LORD (our) God; Enlighten (our) eyes, or (we) will sleep the sleep of death” (Psalm 13: 3). You, O God, see the good in us. Forgive us when we just can’t see or hear You. We don’t want to have a heavy mind holding on to thoughts that pull us away from You. So provoke us, and call on us to continue on this search for truth. Give us a willingness to look beyond our own perspective and to look humanity in the eye so that we can unlearn intolerance and fear. Teach us to learn what being human is, and what your vision is so that we can help each other experience the possibilities of God.
“When there is a mighty movement of God, nobody can stop it” (Pastor James Phillips). We pray, Almighty One, that you would give us the strength and the tenacity to stand up, take a breath, and speak the truth that God is love and that Love is for all. For “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Lord God, You are “our light and our salvation” (Psalm 27:1). Strengthen us by “reviving whatever peace and love has died within us” (Christian Today) so that we can see as you see. Open our eyes to see a world that needs so much more than us. Show us a world that needs You. Shift our minds to experience how love works and how love never fails. See, we don’t know You but we want to know you…because You know us, and “to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known” (Chris Kinsley & Drew Francis). Help us to know You, Lord. We need to know You.
“Christ has no hands or feet on earth but ours” (Teresa of Avila). So let us be His body and feed those who are hungry. Not with bread alone but with the Love of God. Break down the walls of fear and hatred with the realness of looking at one another, straight in the eye, and seeing a child of God; someone who is in need of as much grace and forgiveness as we are. In the end, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
We come here today to receive not what we want, but what we need. We need the love of God. We give You, oh Lord, our time and our hearts because You so loved us, that You gave Your only Son so that we would never be separated from the love of God.
The most important work that we will do is to break down the walls of our hearts, and just love others as God loves us. It is the Word made flesh that heals us of the ugliness of this world, and brings us forward into our function as beloved children of God.
“Christ has no body but ours, no hands, no feet on earth but ours. Our eyes are those with which He looks compassion on this world, Our feet are those with which He walks to do good, Our hands, are those with which He blesses all the world” (Teresa of Avila) with love. And “love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Architect of life, shift the universe and align us with Your message to love beyond our limitations. Mend and resolve what is broken in our lives so that we can experience the fullness of these moments that You gift us.
Thank You for being faithful, consistent, constant and always with us. Impact our attitudes as we remember the saints that have gone before us, so that we can trust in the resurrecting power of Almighty God; that in Christ there is no good bye and there is no end. There is only oneness with the love of the One who created us.
We pray for many things. But the prayer that is answered into our being, is that God is always with us, goes with us, and stands alongside us as we face the many obstacles and mazes of this life. We are never without God. Ever.
Search us, O God, and fan the flame of Your love in all of us. May our eyes be open to the beautiful things that are happening because of the love of God. Wrap our heads and hearts around the complexity of this love. May we remember and learn from what love is, and let go of what love is not. Love doesn’t boast. Love doesn’t destroy. Love doesn’t lie or gossip. Love builds up. Love protects. And love unites because God is LOVE. And anything that is not of Love is not of God.
“May we let Love lead us. May we stand for what Christ stood for or rather stand with those whom Christ stands with. May we be the blessing and not the curse” (Pastor Melissa Greene, Gracepointe Church, Tenessee).