Rejoicing in...Suffering - Vespers 10 January 2021
Savior, your servant Paul once wrote words that are full of hope, wrapped up with thoughts that are hard for us to get our hearts around; “Through [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And for that, Lord Jesus, we are ever and always grateful. But then Paul went on: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” This, Lord, is where we often stumble. Rejoicing in our sufferings? And yet you show us here that our sufferings are part of our flourishing with endurance, character building and hope. O dear Jesus, change our hearts and outlook so that we can rejoice in suffering to these ends. And be with those who are suffering right now (…). May they see themselves growing with endurance, character and hope. Hope! Hope that does not put to shame, because the Father’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:2-5). O Lord, hear our prayer.
We implore you, also, for our country. There’s so much happening that gives us a genuine sense of unease. Everything from evil potentially winning in our country, to an election’s validity being questioned, to threats of violence and turmoil, to economic troubles, to a raging pandemic, and so forth. Lord, we know our nation is not the Kingdom of God and will not last into eternity. Only your church will. But we cherish our country, and all that it once stood for, and still stands for in the eyes of many around the world. Lord God may righteousness prevail in this land and sensibility. May families be restored; children be favored and cared for; the elderly and unborn be preserved; the down-and-out aided in getting on their feet; people from different ethnicities and perspectives returned to real neighborliness; for righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). O Lord, hear our prayer.
Finally, Lord, for this congregation, we implore your favor. May we be a church, a sacred society, always gathered under the banner of Jesus. And when this plague is done, help us to be standing fiscally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. And guide us now to continue to lean in that direction. O Lord, hear our prayer.
All of these requests we have mentioned, and those that have remained silently on our hearts, we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our saving Lord.