This Week’s Theme
Under the Mighty Hand of God
1 Peter 4.12-14; 5.6-11
Peter encouraged the believers who received his first epistle to “not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4.12). For insofar as they shared in the sufferings of Christ, they would also be able “to rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (v. 13). They were blessed when insulted for the name of Christ, for the Spirit of glory and of God rested upon them (v. 14).
He exhorted them, therefore, to humble themselves under “the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5.6-7). He challenged them to be sober-minded and alert for the devil “is posed to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping” (v. 8, MSG). He charged them to resist the enemy, firm in their faith, being assured that what they were enduring was shared by believers all over the world. He finally encouraged them with the truth that, after they had endured this suffering “a little while,” the God of all grace who had called them to eternal glory in Christ, would himself “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5.9-10).
For those enduring hardship, we can be comforted knowing that we are under the mighty hand of God, the same God who knows our needs and cares for us, and he will never fail those who trust in him.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, grant unto us to be so firmly established in the love of thyself, that no trials whatsoever may be able to part us from thee.
~ Roman Breviary (Water, p. 106)
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
Sunday: Isa. 12; 17; 2 Chron. 28.16-25; 29.1-2; 2 Kings 15.30-31; 16.10-18; 17.1-4; 18.1-8
Psalm: Ps. 68.1-10, 32-35
Acts*: Acts 1.6-14
Gospel: John 17.1-11
NT: 1 Pet. 4.12-14; 5.6-11
(Click here for all readings)
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
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
Father, make us more like Jesus. Help us to bear difficulty, pain, disappointment, and sorrows, knowing that in your perfect working and design you can use such bitter experiences to shape our characters and make us more like our Lord. We look with hope for that day when we shall be wholly like Christ, because we will see him as he is. Amen.
~ Ignatius of Antioch c. 107 AD, on his way to martyrdom (Water, p. 218)
Affirmation for the Day
We ought not be surprised at the painful trial we are suffering, as though it were strange or unexpected. God is aware of our need.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Father, make us more like Jesus, in humble submission to you and strong resistance to the enemy.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Gift and the Gifts of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12.3b-13
Barrett, None Greater