Hope of All the Earth

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Psalm 65 begins extolling the kindness and mercy of the Lord: “Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.  You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.  When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions” (Psalm 65:1-3, NIV).  God is loving to the undeserving, gracious and good.  We can look to Him in our need.

Indeed, He is our only hope.  We are confronted with dangers and uncertainty, and we cannot save ourselves.  Where should we look for hope, for forgiveness, for life?

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” (v.5).  God is able to save, to heal, to forgive.  When situations seem beyond help, God is able.  When all others fail us, God is able.  In the depths of our sin, God is able to lift us up in His mercy. Let us remember that we serve the Almighty God.  He is strong to deliver anyone who looks to Him.  He is “the hope of all the ends of the earth.”  He is our hope, and we can trust Him.

Transitions

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Well, a lot has happened since my last blog post.

As a word of explanation, my family has undergone a major transition: new town, new home, new church. All of this has been wonderful, but it’s remarkable how much things have changed in the past couple of months.

Of course, this coincides with a major transition our whole nation and our whole world has been going through. The coronavirus pandemic has brought horrible death and suffering, and dealt an economic blow to people’s livelihoods that will perhaps not be fully realized until this is over.

On top of that, our nation has been grappling with the evil of our long legacy of racism, and the dark consequences of that, which show up in a number of ways. The horrible injustice done to George Floyd has led to unrest and destruction that will surely increase the suffering of the poor in these communities. If this, too, is a transition, we cannot see from here what the end result will be.

May God have mercy on us. May He, the great Healer, lift our world out of the grip of this disease. May He, the great Reconciler, grant us the mercy of repentance, reconciliation, justice, peace, and a brighter future to come. May He, the Lord of life, stir revival in our nation so that we will have His love for one another.

May He turn this dark transition to our transformation.

Easter Tuesday

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I bless you, God Most High, for this day to declare your glory and the resurrection hope. Wonderful you are, and wonderful are your works for our redemption. Thank you for the love that sent your Son to the cross; thank you for the power that raised our Lord from the tomb. For your mercy and kindness, your majesty and strength, be forever praised, God Most High—Amen.

Easter Monday

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Praise be to the Author of Life, in the new days of Easter. Days rainy, days sunny, you bring forth the bloom in its yearly parable of resurrection. Be glorified, Lord of light and wind and water. Be glorified, Lord of life and warmth and joy. Be glorified, blessed Triune Redeemer: Father Eternal, Spirit of Mercy, Victorious Son. Be praised and glorified now and forever—Amen.

Easter, Night

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Be near to us, blessed Father, through the hours of night. We live in the glory of the resurrection life; but we walk in the night of the world, still awaiting the fulness of redemption. Be near, to guard and guide our steps, and bring us safely into the eternal light of your consummated kingdom. Your victory is certain and your throne unshakable. Be glorified in the people you have won for yourself, God Most High—Amen.

Easter, Evening

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Ever-blessed, ever-holy, Lord of life and light and love, ever-righteous, ever-mighty, God be praised this Easter dusk. We bless your Name and praise your majesty, Father-Son-Spirit, One God in Persons Three. Thank you for the gift of Jesus our Savior, for His atoning death, for His victorious resurrection, and for the gift of new life in Him. Draw us near, blessed God, in your so wonderful redemption—Amen.

Easter, Afternoon

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Father Almighty, we worship you on this joyful resurrection day. Be glorified, Almighty God, our Maker and Master, our Savior and King. Glory to you in your unfathomable love, in the mercy that delivered your Son for us. Glory to you in your invincible strength, in the power that raised Jesus our Savior from the dead. Glory to you in your unapproachable holiness, in your incomparable majesty, glory and honor and praise—Amen!

Easter 2020

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This Easter finds us in strange circumstances, isolated during a time of fear and uncertainty. It may seem like there is a shadow over our celebration, when we are unable to gather together and sing the hymns of the resurrection, to exchange the joyful yearly greeting, “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!”

But for these very reasons our Easter faith must be especially dear this year. It is in the depths of winter, when all is dead and bitterly cold, that we long most fervently for spring. The days we lay a-bed sick make us long for good health we otherwise take for granted, and the great sorrows of life strip away all of the distractions that numb us, and fill us instead with sweet and desperate hope for the life to come.

That hope is the joy of Easter, the wonderful promise of resurrection, of unfading newness beyond all the loss and weakness and grief of this world. For our longing for eternity is not a vain wish of the human heart; it is an echo of God’s original design in our souls, and it points us to the wonderful salvation that God offers in Jesus Christ. This high and holy day sweeps away all darkness and gloom with the triumphant proclamation of resurrection life.

Jesus is alive—now, today, and forevermore. Jesus has risen from the grave, conquered death, and He offers life and freedom to all who come to Him. This is the message of Easter, the perennial proclamation of gospel hope to a world of uncertainty and sorrow.

How wonderful the news on that first Easter Sunday, when the women came to the sepulcher expecting to find Jesus dead and buried, entombed in stone. Instead, two angels met them, and said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’” (Luke 24:5-6, NIV). And in this resurrection, we have a living Savior, and the promise of resurrection to eternal life for all who trust in Him.

Take heart, for it is Easter. He is risen! Risen, indeed.

Easter, Noon

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Spirit of Life, fill us ever fuller with this newness you have brought. Spirit of Hope, draw us daily to the cross, daily to the living Lord; confirm in us your hope undying. Spirit of Glory, be glorified in this day of joy. Be glorified in your power, in your holiness, in your love, in your wisdom and presence and work. Praise and worship and honor be yours, now and forevermore—Amen.