Collect: Fourth Advent…

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever.

O LORD, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

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Life happens here…

At Trinity Reformed Church, Edgewood, New Mexico, we have some kids in our services. All of our kids. And we delight in that. Sometimes there are disruptions because of our kids. When that happens, I am likely to say “Life happens here.” Because it does. Christ’s church is a place of life, and sometimes life is disrupted and disruptive.

From time to time, as I pick up our spent copies of the Order of Worship to use as firestarters, I find artwork. Some of it is quite good, most is a delight to me, because…well…Life happens here.

I thought I’d share my delight with you.

Life happens here 3

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Though they seek to cover their shame…

Divine Providence has many ways of entailing disgrace upon the wicked practices even of great men, who, though they seek to cover their shame, are put to a perpetual reproach.

Matthew Henry

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Limit of despair…

Let us think as bad as we can of sin, provided we do not think it unpardonable; let us despair of help in ourselves, but not of help in God.

Matthew Henry

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Run to the cross…

Woe to him that is in despair, and is alone.

Matthew Henry

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Table Meditation: December 7, 2014…

Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

There is kind of an implicit question here at the Table. It’s not really “Are You the King of the Jews?” It’s more along the lines of “Are you the Christ…Are You the Messiah…Are You the Son of the Living God…Are you my Savior?”

And He really answers that question pretty clearly.

You might say…“I don’t ever ask that question. I know the answer to that question. I know Jesus is my Savior.” But He believes you need to hear it, to hear the answer to that question. Again…and again…and again.

Isn’t it Chesterton who writes about the sunrise? He says that God never gets tired of the sunrise. He says it every day…“Do it again!…Do it again!…Do it again!” And his glory shines out again…and again…and again.

Jesus doesn’t ever tire of telling you “I’m your savior,” again, and again, and again. And I would guess that, because he does that, you need to hear it…again, and again, and again.

Christians…marvel at the answer to that question. Jesus Christ is your Savior, and your Lord. And He speaks to you in broken bread and poured-out wine. Again, again, and this day…again.

Paul writes this:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

And indeed, Jesus proclaims his death to you, and all of the benefits that it holds for you.

And thanks be to God.

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Congregational prayer: Second Advent – December 7, 2014…

Our Holy Father and our God, we have come…You have called us into your presence. You have set before us the perfect law of liberty; we have looked into it and seen ourselves as we are. And then, O God, You have changed our hearts. You have made us Christ’s and, in Him, made us Yours. You have taken our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh. You have given us a Savior. And Lord, now You have called us into Your presence that we might come out of the darkness of the world and be raised with Christ’s triumphant church into heavenly places. We join in the heavenly Holy of holies and join our voices with the heavenly host. Holy! Holy! Holy! are You, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are indeed, full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

And Lord, You have given us Your Word, You have set if before us, and, indeed, we pray by Your Spirit that we might be enabled to hear, mark, understand, inwardly digest that which You give us. By Your Word might we be shaped, both in mind and heart. By your Word may we be made more like Your Son. By Your Word help us to understand Your Son and what he has done for us.

We pray, O God, that Your Word would dwell richly in us, that it would be on our lips and come out in our lives.

We give You thanks, O God, that You have given us Christ’s church…that You have made us part of Christ’s Body and joined us with Him. We give You thanks for the CREC. We give You thanks for Pastors Phelps, and Wilson, and Craw, for services they have performed and services they will perform. We ask that we might be a light and joyful burden for them. We ask that You would guide us in truth and righteousness as a church and as a denomination. We give You thanks for the brothers and sisters, and sister churches, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us, and we ask for Your blessings upon them.

[Congregational Concerns]

We pray for our country and give You thanks for it. We pray for those who rule, whether elected, appointed or employed, and ask that You would help them to be ministers to you appropriately. We ask that you would convert hearts in this country and, indeed, all countries, that this country might cling to righteousness, and that the whole earth might be covered with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas.

We pray for peace, O God. We know that Christ has brought peace, that Christ has reconciled the elect to You, and we look forward to a day when that comes to full consummation, when there is naught but peace on this earth. We look forward to that with hope and with joy.

And Father, we pray, as we prepare to come to this Table, open our eyes to see Christ. Open our eyes to know His presence with us. Open our hearts to know that in some mysterious way, we are nourished in soul of this.

And Father, we pray, superintend the rest of this worship by Your Spirit, that we might do what is pleasing to You here, O God.

Father, all this in Christ’s holy name we pray.


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