This Week’s Theme
What Does the Lord Require?
Mark Twain famously said, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.” In Micah 6.6-8, the Lord says something similar to his people. In the face of difficulty and defeat, God’s people cry out, “What do you want from us? What can we do to satisfy you? Do you want us to grovel? To give you thousands of animals and gallons of wine? How about if I sacrifice my firstborn?” The Lord responds simply, “Your problem is not a failure to understand. It is a failure to obey. I have been clear and you know what you need to do. Pursue justice, kindness, and humility.” There may be confusing parts of the Bible, but that does not release us from the clear instruction of the Lord. He has shown us what is good. He sent his Son as an example that we might follow in his steps. We are without excuse. Nothing will acquit us if we ignore him.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, our Father, thank you so much for your clear and compelling declaration of what you demand give through your servant Micah. You do not demand mere ritualistic participation, but inward transformation and practical display of acts of justice, kindness, and humility before you. Make us now true to your will, granting us grace to do justice, to love kindness, and walk in humbleness before you. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Saturday: Num. 34-36
Psalm: Ps. 15
OT: Mic. 6.1-8
Gospel: Matt. 5.1-12
NT: 1 Cor. 1.18-31
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Holy and eternal God, we do not desire to only be ceremonially faithful, but rather faithful to your covenant and to your Kingdom will. Grant us your Spirit in order that we, informed by his wisdom and truth, may offer to you what you truly require: acts of justice, mercy, and humility before you. You alone can make us acceptable to you. Act for your own glory’s sake, in Jesus’s name, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Help us remember that You desire mercy, and not sacrifice.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Thank you, Lord Jesus, high priest of heaven, and mediator for humankind for us before the Father, for sharing our nature and experience. Because of this, you are able and willing to help us today.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Salt and Light, Matthew 5.21-37
Packer, Knowing God