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Sunday, October 8, 2017

"Mighty God, Loving Father...." 8 October 2017


Mighty God, Loving Father, who sent your Son, Jesus Christ to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified (Isaiah 61.2-3); we lift up our hearts and hands and voices to give you praise, to thank you, and to rejoice in your goodness!

Creator and Sustainer, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; we pray for the nations and peoples of the world, and specifically Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria and Andorra; we pray for our own country, we pray our friends, foes and family with the Psalmist in Psalm 146: please execute justice for the oppressed…; give food to the hungry…; set the prisoners free, specifically those who are innocent or unjustly imprisoned…; open the eyes of the blind…; lift up those who are bowed down…; pour out love on the righteous…; watch over the sojourners…; uphold the widow and the fatherless…; and bring the way of the wicked to ruin…; for you, O God, reign forever even unto all generations. Praise the LORD (Psalm 146.6-10)!

Lord God who forgives all our iniquity, who heals all our diseases; who redeems our life from the pit; who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy; who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 103.3, 4; 147.3): there is loads of pain and grief from this week. There is the agony that has been plastered all over our news sources from Las Vegas; there is the quieter grief of one of our neighbors down the street; and there is the sadness and woe of other events that will never make it in the police blotters or the Oklahoman. We pray for them all….have mercy, O God, and bring hope, healing, restoration and renewal.

Lord Jesus, you who loved the church and gave yourself up for her; smile on your church world over, along with this congregation, and Beverly Hills Baptist; Bodine Baptist; Bread of Life Baptist; Britton Baptist and Brookwood Baptist churches. According to your plan and work, do sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, and present the church to yourself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish; and may she submit to you in reciprocal love, abandoning herself to your affectionate embrace and ardor (Ephesians 5.24-27).

Because of your plentiful goodness, we add our voices to the redeemed of Isaiah 61, and say: I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61.10). In the name of Jesus Christ your Son and our Lord, we pray and say, Amen!

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