- Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
- Preacher: Cn. Dave
- Music: Tom leading a trio (vocals, drums, guitar)
- Scripture: Sharon (Revelation 9:1-12 and Psalm 90), Dcn. Ben (Mark 10:17-31)
Songs of Praise
- Praise is Rising (Hosanna)
- One Thing Remains
- Who You Say I Am
- The Lion and the Lamb
- Good Good Father
- Jesus Messiah
- Mighty to Save
Collect for the Day
God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your Church, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand to intercede for us, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in everlasting glory. Amen.
I both love and dread when I’m responsible for the leadership of the service when the rector has to be away a Sunday. I dread it because the decisions that come up fall to me as priest, and filling gaps and identifying leadership on the spot comes to my door, when most weeks, I can defer to him and not worry about it at all. But I love it, because I take seriously the call God has given me–not to compose a service, but to draw the attention of God’s people to the notes being arranged by the Holy Spirit.
After providing a diaconal/chancel tutorial to a more recently-minted deacon (who did a solid job), we prayed with the other worship leaders and had a genuine sense that there was a movement of the Spirit for transformation and for inspiring evangelism, and for God’s grace to be ministering in a powerful and generous way. As we moved through the liturgy–greeting, acclamation, summary of the law, confession, absolution, and comfortable words, there was a genuine invitation to draw nearer and nearer to God. As we sang about God’s great love for His people, and proclaimed His faithfulness for any who would listen, I was gaining some recognition that God was calling us into His refuge. We concluded that worship in silence–the words of Revelation 8:1 echoing (at least for me), “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”
After praying the Collect for the Day and dismissing the kids to their class, the lessons were read. As I got up to preach, it occurred to me for the millionth time that I’d been tasked with one of the most difficult texts in Revelation. The fifth seal judgment–the release of Abandon from the Abyss and the suffering of all mankind (but not death) is an intimidating message. As I exposited the identity of this horde of locusts, the weight of this judgment began to sit in the room–even the revelation that those who are sealed by God in baptism were exempt from the judgment didn’t dissipate that weight. These were people that we were concerned for, that we wanted to see spared and delivered. I offered the reality that in this situation, God had set a boundary–that death was not an option for Destruction to wreak over humanity–and demonstrates a severe mercy, a mercy that opens the opportunity for repentance, to receive the seal of God. To draw that in, I read Joel 2–which features a very similar picture of the day of judgment, but which concludes with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit–God is a God of justice, but who relents over disaster to bring repentance and renewal.
As we confessed the Creed, prayer the prayers and received Holy Communion–singing the glorious kingship of Jesus and His power to deliver solidified an atmosphere of determination that the Gospel be shared, and that those who are not walking in this world sealed by the Spirit of God would experience repentance and renewal, and be marked as Christ’s own forever. Lord, bring them in.