Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Let there be mercy

Tonight we began our Wednesday Lenten series at Trinity Lutheran-Fort Worth. We began this series with the emphasis on the theme "Let there be mercy". We are drawing this theme from a song written by Ben Kyle called "Mercy". The song sings of issues and realities of life coming time and again back to the hook "Let there be Mercy, Mercy, Mercy".

We sing this as our closing song after we have sung a gathering hymn, heard the word, sung one of the great Lenten hymns of the tradition and praying a prayer of confession and hope (see below).

Tonight our scripture was Matthew 9, the call of the tax collector Matthew. We heard these words and were challenged to think about what Jesus meant when he said he came to call sinners, not the righteous. To learn what it meant when God says "I desire Mercy, not sacrifice." These are profound words for us especially, I believe, when we recognize Jesus' most important statement of mercy to Matthew. For when he called Matthew he said nothing about sin, death or Matthew's own situation. He simply expressed mercy to him by saying "Follow me."

Mercy is an invitation. An invitation into Lent. Into disciplines and repentance not because God is angry or demanding, but because God is merciful and inviting. Like the pharisees we question Jesus' invitation to Matthew. He is but a tax collector and sinner. But he is also a human being. Is he not worthy of mercy? Of the invitation to discipleship?

Sometimes in Lent we get so caught up in the rules (I have largely given up meat for the season) that we forget the purpose. We have been offered an opportunity to experience mercy. To recognize our sin, our guilt, and our need for repentance in community. To receive the invitation to mercy and to follow Christ.

The most profound moment for me this evening was after the service ended. The community left in silence and in the pews were two friends. These friends were praying together. Uninterested in those in their midst, focused on prayer together and mutual consolation. Mutual mercy. I have no idea what they prayed for tonight, but I pray that they received from God the invitation to mercy.

So this Lent I pray for you and for all. Let there be mercy. You are invited.


Prayer of Confession and Hope
P: In the scriptures we are reminded that God calls us to repentance. That when we acknowledge our sin God graciously hears our prayer. So we come now with words of confession, scripture and prayers for forgiveness. All praying that God might show mercy, forgive our sin and reconcile us to God and our neighbor...
C: Let there be mercy

P: From First John: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and God's word is not in us.
C: Let there be mercy

P: From Psalm 32: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD." And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
C: Let there be mercy

P: From James: Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
C: Let there be mercy.

P: Let there be mercy on us O God. For all of our sins we have committed against you, our brothers and sisters and your earth. For our wastefulness, for our greed, for our indifference to others suffering.
C: Let there be mercy.

P: Let there be mercy on us O God. For all of our sins that come from our failure to act. For standing by in the face of injustice, for prejudice and unkind thoughts about our neighbors, for our lack of generosity with your abundance.
C: Let there be mercy.

P: We confess our sins before you O God, trusting that in you we have mercy through the son Jesus Christ. Cleanse us, free us, and send us forth into the world to serve you, grow as your disciples and proclaim good news in Christ's Name.
C: Amen. 

1 comment:

  1. THE LORD'S CHURCH

    What are the things that do not make you a member of the body of Christ?

    What are the requirements for membership in the Lord's church?

    THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE YOU A MEMBER OF THE LORD'S CHURCH.

    1. Simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God does not grant you membership in the Lord's church.

    Mark 5:1-12 .....7..."What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?....12 The demons implored Him....

    Demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, however, that does not give them membership in the Lord's church. Legion was not part of the body of Christ.

    2. Sprinkling infants with water does not make them part of the body of Christ. Sprinkling unbelieving babies is not an act that adds them to the Lord's church.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....

    Only believers who have been baptized are added to the Lord's church. Babies are not capable of believing.

    3. Joining denominations, such as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, etc. does not grant you membership into the Lord's church. Joining a denomination cannot save anyone. You cannot join the Lord's church.

    Acts 2:47...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    The requirement for being added to the Lord's church is not joining a denomination. The Lord only adds the saved to the church. The church is the body of Christ.

    WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH?

    The apostle Peter said, on the Day of Pentecost, " Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40)

    Who was saved? Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day were added about three thousand souls.

    Three thousands souls were added to the Lord's church on the Day of Pentecost. Why were they added to the body of Christ?
    They received Peter's message and were immersed in water.(baptized).

    Peter's message: (Acts 2:22-38) They were taught that Jesus was the Christ. That Jesus was Lord. That God raised Jesus from the dead. They were told to repent and be baptized so their sins could be forgiven and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Those who believed Peter's message, and repented and were baptized, were added to the body of Christ by the Lord Himself. (Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    MEN BECOME SAVED THE SAME WAY TODAY AS THEY DID ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST.

    HOW TO BECOME ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH.

    1. FAITH: John 3:16, Mark 16:16
    2. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37
    3. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19
    4. BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:27.


    ONLY THE LORD ADDS YOU TO HIS CHURCH!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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