I have just fallen in love with the words of this song and I sing this as a prayer and an affirmation of my faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
“So Will I” by Hillsong
God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will I
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).
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.
Author of Life, speak so that we can hear. Illuminate so that we can see that “our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time” (Martin Luther). “Bring clarity to replace our confusion. Reveal possibilities to replace our pessimism” (Pr. James Phillips). Resurrect us from the graveyard of no expectations and the status quo. Instead, raise our expectations of ourselves, of each other and of this faith community so that we can share in the movement of the Holy Spirit, here on earth, as it is in heaven.
“When there is a mighty movement of God, no one can stop it” (Pr. James Phillips) and we need not fear, for “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God” (Romans 8:39). Faith isn’t stagnant. Faith moves. And as we move forward together, with God and with each other, let us seek Love. Let us seek Grace. Let us seek God in every divine expression.
God of comfort, envelop us in Your truth. Stop us from pointing fingers and remind us that we are unified by our humanity. Lead our hearts into Your presence. Forgive us when we forget You and each other. Instead, create a community of grace and action. Send us out there, outside of what is familiar, to the places that need grace the most, so that we can be part of building Your kingdom here in this place and in our hearts.
“When something bad happens, we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us,” (Frank Langela). Strengthen us, O Lord, to see and hear the needs of Your people. So many lives that we need to see, remember and honor. Don’t let us ever forget. Don’t let us forget.
Guide us now, oh Great Redeemer, to a place of community with You and with each other. Engage us with a needy world, so that when we see each other, we see God in every expression. Equip us with the understanding that, “it doesn’t matter if we’re right, it matters if we are in relationship” (Pastor Leila Ortiz) with each other and with our Creator. Give us the strength to let go and let God, so that we can invite those who are thirsty and hungry for more than what this world can offer.
Other’s might laugh and gossip, but God knows and walks with each and everyone us. So let’s walk with each other, not against each other, and let’s do what God does; care about those that the world does not.
Creator God, rebuild every good thing that has been destroyed. Teacher, call to us and draw us into Your story. Make us active players in Your narrative and in this community. Clear our eyes to see those who are not safe. Tear down the walls so that we can reach out to those living in the margins. Unbind us from fear so that we can be Your hands and feet. Meet us where our condemnation and our limitations collapse. Meet us.
You invited us to Your table by taking the lowest place in ours. You humbled Yourself and gave Your life so that we could live. Give us the courage to receive the Holy Gospel and make us alive. Begin the healing now so that we can be the Church that invites all and sees all. Let us not leave this place as we came, but with changed hearts and minds that have seen and experienced the risen Lord. Let us be the Church again. Let us be the Church.
Almighty God, we come to You because we need shelter. We come to You because we’re wrestling with divisions that bring chaos and not community. We need to unlearn so many things because there is something wrong with saying words of grace and doing nothing. “Tune our ear(s) to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding” (Proverbs 2:2) because we need to listen to the Word of God through the cries of the forgotten. Bring us back to being part of the change that needs to happen. Bring us back to being beacons of light in the darkness. Bring us back to You.
We cannot un-see what we have already seen. This past week forces us to see the work that is far from over. You tell us that, “if Your people, who are called by Your name, will humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, then You will hear from heaven, and You will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Heal our land. Heal our hearts so that justice will flow. Speak to our fears, our frustrations and our anger so that we can stand firm on Your Word when the enemy is scattered. Deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen