Close Behind

Psalm 139:5
“You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

John 20:13-14
“[The angels] asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’  ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.”

Isaiah 58:8-9a
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

Eternal God, you spread the invisible shield of your hands around your loved ones.

close behindWhen we step into a troubling future with precarious faith, we look back to find you faithfully within arm’s reach.  When our past threatens to attack, you guard our way.

Help us trust that though you may delay confirmation, you will securely hem us in.  Teach us to follow the unrecognized yet reassuring presence at our burdened shoulder.

Thank you that we find the resurrected Christ behind us, as close as a tear-filled turn.  It is in his name that we pray.

Listen to ‘Poor Sinner Dejected with Fear’ featuring MP Jones and Katy Bowser

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Trumpets

Joshua 6:15-17a, 20
“On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.  The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, ‘Shout!  For the Lord has given you the city!  The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord.’…When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in and they took the city.”

Revelation 11:15
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’”

Psalm 47:5-7
“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.  Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.”

Great and mighty King, you reign without rival and your victory is complete.

trumpetsWe march in faith that the battle is won.  With confidence we anticipate the day of trumpets when the realm of darkness falls forever.

Stir our timid hearts to shout your praise.  Strengthen our voices to herald the coming of your everlasting kingdom.

Because of Christ we sing grateful adoration; announced by the seventh angel, conqueror on the seventh day.

Listen to ‘Let the Seventh Angel Sound’ by Sojourn

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Swords

Genesis 3:23-24
“So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.  After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Luke 22:49-51
“When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.  But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’  And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Colossians 1:21-22
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—”

Divine Judge, you hold the power to make the sharp separation between all that is good and all that would harm us.

1mUxNjWith a flashing sword you protect us from our own foolish decisions, and with a gentle hand you heal our battle wounds.  You are the guardian of the garden yet you fight for reconciliation.

Take from us the weapons we wield in anger.  Forgive us for our emnity with you and may we extend this gracious peace to others.

As you have directed us, we ask this in Jesus’ loving name, who came under the sword of judgement for the healing of our souls.

Listen to ‘Sorrow and Blood’ by the weak & the few

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Strangers

Psalm 119:18-19
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.  I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.”

John 17:14-16
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

1 Peter 1:17
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”

Heavenly Father, at the request of your Son you have furnished a home and provided a family for us.

We are citizens of a country we have not yet seen, and speak a language of grace that few understand.  Our faith is foreign in a culture of distress.

strangerThough all the world wanders, keep us pure.  Remind us that we are sojourners of hope residing in a desperate town.

For the sake of Christ Jesus we pray, our saving stranger who lived with us to lead us home.

Listen to ‘Love Me to the End’ by Red Mountain Music

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Discovered

1 Samuel 10:20a, 21b-24
“When Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near…Saul son of Kish was chosen.  But when they looked for him, he was not to be found.  So they inquired further of the Lord, ‘Has the man come here yet?’ And the Lord said, ‘Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.’  They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others.  Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the man the Lord has chosen?  There is no one like him among all the people.’  Then the people shouted, ‘Long live the king!’”

Luke 19:1-6
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead a climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.  When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today.’”

Isaiah 49:5
“…he…formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honoured in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength…”

Sovereign Lord, you design a future for us and call us by name.

discoveredBecause of your persistent love, you discover us in the places we hide, anxious and ashamed.  You see beyond our sins and stature and honour us with magnificent purpose.

At the sound of your voice may we leave behind all that once defined us.  Uncover our facades and draw us forward in your service.

As Christ has called us, we call upon his name to receive fellowship and a future.

Listen to ‘By Thy Mercy’ by High Street Hymns

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Dawn

Job 38:12-13
“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?”

Matthew 28:1-2
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”

Psalm 65:8b
“…where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.”

Lord of light, at your command your servant sun conquers the kingdom of night.

Each golden morning you renew the promise of resurrection.  The glow of the new day approaching shakes the stronghold of darkness.

dawnRise in faithfulness in our cold hearts.  Hear our songs of joy as your light shines with hope on the horizon.

In the name of the risen Christ we pray, who rode the wings of the dawn to overtake the dark of death.

Listen to ‘Early, My God‘ by Sojourn

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Desert Owl

Psalm 102:6-7
“I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.  I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.”

Mark 1:35
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Isaiah 43:19-21
“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

Lord God who hears, we are made to call to you.

At our core we are creatures alone, inhabiting the dark and empty places.  In the hush of the long night we cry out to you.

desert owl Speak and fill the silence with your life-giving words.  Shine steadily into our darkness, and cause rivers to rush where we are parched so that our praises lift your name high in glory.

For the sake of Jesus we ask this, who remembered our names in the lonely places, and by his solitary path to the cross made a way for us in the desert.

Listen to ‘O Heart Bereaved and Lonely’ featuring Sandra McCracken

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