Worship Order for
(Psalm 118:19 & 24)
1 - "Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may
enter through them and give thanks to the LORD."
2 - "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us
rejoice and be glad in it."
give thanks to you, O Lord, for you are good, and your steadfast
love endures forever" (Psalm 118:1)
We have known your faithfulness in days past, therefore we trust
in you as we face the unknowns of tomorrow. Children are born into
our lives, an act of faith. Their future is a wide-open book.
Bless them and their parents, who bear an awesome and wonderful
responsibility to guide and direct, and eventually release them.
Persons face surgery, also an act of faith. Bless the surgeonís
mind and hand, and bless those who then do the awesome and
wonderful work of recovering, your healing touch upon their lives.
Families grieve the loss of loved ones, an act of faith. Bless
those who let go of the past and trust in your care, looking ahead
to that great reunion day.
soldiers in Iraq, who shift from war to peace. The days ahead are
perhaps the most stressful they may face. Bless the people of that
land as they enter the unknown territory of rebuilding beyond the
chaos, anarchy, and fear of the present moment. Bless the leaders
of our nation, O Lord, especially at this time. After all, war
requires black and white thinking, but peace involves a rainbow of
alternatives. May they see the various hues along the path ahead
and lead us wisely.
On this day, O
Lord, as we stand at the threshold of war and peace, of crosses
and empty tombs, our death and new life, of fear and hope, may the
cry of our hearts be a song of gratitude and trust in your
goodness and faithfulness. Hear us now, as we pray together the
prayer which Jesus taught us to pray, saying:
father, which ..."
with our Tithes and Offerings
the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my
stand." We just sang that phrase, but what does that strange
word "fain" mean? Does it have something to do with
vanity, that I stand beneath the cross in my best Easter outfit?
Am I saying that I stand there in "vain," wasting my
time beneath the cross? Perhaps someone forgot to place a
"t" at the end of that word. Certainly in a "weary
land" with "the burning of the noontide heat, and the
burden of the day," one could easily grow "faint"
taking a stand beneath the cross of Jesus.
dictionary indicates that, indeed, the word is "fain,"
and the first thing it says about this term is that itís
"archaic." What does it mean? Well, there are several
possibilities. One is "willingly" - that is "I willingly
take my stand." Another meaning is "rather," as in
"Iíd rather take my stand." As an adjective, fain
can mean "pleased," or "happy," or
"inclined," or even "compelled." Certainly, we can have any of these motivations for standing beneath
the cross of Jesus.
As you return
your offering, ponder why you might stand where you do in relation
to the cross. Do you do so willingly? Is it because there
is no other place youíd rather be? Do you derive your
true happiness from this symbol of your salvation, that you
are pleased to dwell in its shadow? Do you lean toward, incline
yourself to the cross. Maybe, for you, itís a matter of feeling compelled
to stand there. Of course, there is always the possibility we
stand at the foot of the cross to show off our Easter best, or
that deep down we believe itís all in vain, or that all this
religious talk makes us grow faint.
Be honest with
God as you return your offering. Pray your own heartfelt prayer.
Your real gift, you see, is not what you place in the plate as it
is passed. Your true gift comes from within. Donít let your
"fain" be archaic. Fainly take your stand.
Will the ushers come forward to serve.