Tuesday, September 1, 2020

This Week’s Theme
The Divine Transcendence
Isaiah 55.6-11

(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 13)

Our God is transcendent, exalted, high above all other gods, beings, objects, or things. “When we speak of God as transcendent we mean of course that He is exalted far above the created universe, so far above that human thought cannot imagine it. To think accurately about this, however, we must keep in mind that far above does not here refer to physical distance from the earth but to quality of being. We are concerned not with location in space nor with mere altitude, but with life” (KOTH, p. 69). God is not the first in a list of transcending order of things, objects, or persons. Rather, he is transcendent in the sense that our God stands apart from anything and all else, or as Tozer said, “He is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar” (KOTH, p. 70), since he is infinitely far removed from any and all things in the created things category. They are finite, he is infinite, and therefore he is measureless in his glory beyond any and all else.

The prophet Isaiah, in an appeal to the sinner to repent and return to God, speaks powerfully of God’s transcendence in chapter 55 of the book. “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55.6-7). Then God declares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55.8-9). God’s thoughts and ways are as high above our thoughts as the heavens are above the earth. This is given to show the expanse, to provide a reference for the grand gulf, the incredible distance between God and we ourselves.

The Lord ends his discourse on the mighty transcendence of his Word. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55.10-11). As with all else, God’s word is potent, effective, transcending all things that may seek to hinder or oppose it. In every way and in all things, he is the singular transcendent one.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

O Lord our Lord, there is none like Thee in heaven above or in the earth beneath. Thine is the greatness and the dignity and the majesty. All that is in the heaven and the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, O God, and Thou art exalted as head over all. Amen.
~ KOTH, p. 69

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)

Gloria Patri

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

Tuesday: Matt. 6.5-7.29; Luke 6.37-49

Lectionary Readings

Psalm: Ps. 26.1-8


OT: Exod. 3.1-15


Gospel: Matt. 16.21-28

NT: Rom. 12.9-21


(Click here for all readings)

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
Benediction 

Lord of all being, throned afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Center and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!

Lord of all life, below, above,
Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
Before Thy ever-blazing throne
We ask no luster of our own.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (KOTH, p. 73)

Affirmation for the Day
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Rom. 11.36).

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Your thoughts are not our thoughts, your ways are not our ways. There is none like you, O Lord!

For Your Weekly Journey

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
God’s Omnipresence, Jeremiah 23.23-32

Book Reading
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy