Day Five – Worship in Light of Easter

Revelation 5:11-14
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Everything is different in the light of Easter.  ‘To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honour and glory and might.’  Jewish monotheistic worship has been transformed within, so that one God is now known in terms of the Lamb and his victory.  And what John gives us in narrative form [in John 21], the author of Revelation gives us in poetry: creation at every level now celebrates that victory and its results.

Revelation 4 and 5… portray the throne-room within which vision of the future will be shown to the writer, but they themselves offer a glimpse of what is going on, night and day, in the present time.  Are we prepared to join in the song?

(Wright, NT.  Twelve Months of Sundays:  Biblical Meditations on the Christian Year.  p. 323-4)

Prayer:  Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!  To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship in song with “Echo Holy” by Red Rocks Worship (click here).

– BR


Day Four – Easter Transformation

John 21:15, 19
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
… Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

We are back in Galilee.  Jesus reveals himself as he had done throughout.  He feeds them by the lake.  He offers forgiveness, challenge and commission.

Only now, instead of the drama moving inexorably to Calvary and Easter, it moves out from there.  The fishing, the feeding, the forgiveness and the challenge are all shot through with a sense of something accomplished now to be worked out, something which Jesus has done which must now sweep Peter and the rest along in the tidal wave of new life, new possibilities.  The scene is full of a sense of freshness and wonder:  sunrise, lake and breakfast picnic hint at the transformation of creation itself.

The transformation spreads throughout the scene.  Fishing, after a night of hard and fruitless work, becomes a sudden morning surprise.  The conversation Peter needed but no doubt dreaded transformed his denial into stumbled affirmations of love and loyalty, with Jesus’ questions themselves being turned into commissions: feed my lambs.  Finally, the transformation of vocation itself… because Jesus has laid down his life for Peter, Peter will in turn glorify God.  What more natural, what more utterly challenging, than the simple command, “Follow me?”

(Wright, NT.  Twelve Months of Sundays:  Biblical Meditations on the Christian Year.  p. 323-4)

Prayer:  Lord, thank you that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead has brought me into a new life of following you.   Fill me, feed me, and each one of my fellow ministers in our churches to feed your sheep and follow you today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship in song with “Old for New” by Bethel (click here).

– BR


Day Three – Psalm 30 – Part Two – “How to Give your Testimony”

Psalm 30:6-12
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
…but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, LORD, I called;
to the LORD I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?…
10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me;
LORD, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

The life of a believer is lived between poles of experience:  Put down – brought up; going down to the Pit – restored to life; anger – delight; evening – morning; delight – hiding of the face; strength – terror; mourning – dancing; sackcloth – joy.  Sometimes we are on the way from joy to sackcloth, and we lament.  Sometimes we are on the way from sackcloth to joy, and we give thanks and testify.  For that experience this textbook example suggests that thanksgiving or testimony:

* Is personal,
* Tells a story,
* Addresses God in joy,
* Addresses other people in wonder,
* Links the story with issues of life and death,
* Tells the story again when once doesn’t seem enough,
* Invites the rest of the community to join in.
(Goldingay, John.  Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms Volume 1.  P. 433)

Prayer:  Lord, fill us, your people, today, with a testimony of your salvation that speaks to one another and to our world.  May we tell the story again and again to our spiritual/biological children, and may they know a lifetime of favor in your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

– BR


Day Two – Psalm 30 – Part One – “A Moment in His Anger – A Lifetime in His Favor”

Psalm 30:1-5
I will exalt you, LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths…
LORD my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

The first section of this psalm is the summary praise for deliverance from dying.  The word “heal” more than likely includes the idea of forgiveness.  The rest of the psalm will confirm this idea here because the psalmist will acknowledge that his presumptuous attitude was met with God’s anger.  The deliverance is explained more clearly in verse 3:  God prevented him from dying.

The psalmist turns to exhort the congregation to join him in praising the LORD.  The people are addressed as God’s “beloved,” a word related to “loyal love.”  The substance of their praise is the lesson of verse 5.  The English translations usually read smoothly, but the Hebrew is… as if the ideas were being proclaimed ecstatically: “For a moment his anger, a lifetime in his favor; in the evening weeping may lodge, but in the morning a ringing cry.” (Ross, Allen P. Kregel Exegetical Library.  A Commentary on the Psalms. P. 668)

Prayer:  I will exalt you, Lord, for I called to you, and you forgave me.  Thank you for your favor that lasts for a lifetime and into eternity!  Fill me and your beloved church to worship you today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Living Hope” by Phil Wickham (click here).

– BR


Day One – This I Call to Mind

Let’s read aloud together the following passage and prayer:

Lamentations 3:21-26, 55-58 (ESV)
This I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
I called on your name, LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea.
You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
you have redeemed my life.

Thank you, Lord, for who you are and all you have done!  Thank you that I can live in hope today because of your ways. Your love never ceases.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit to live a life of passion and love for you and for those around me. Your mercies never come to an end.  Help me to be merciful today, and to live in forgiveness with my brothers and sisters whom you love. When I called on your name, you heard my plea and redeemed my life.  Fill me with your Spirit to proclaim to my own heart and to my world what you have done. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “I Have a Savior” (click here).

– BR