Monday, March 7, 2011
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34 (NIV)
Be not mistaken, for as long as this world exists evil shall always struggle against good, tyranny shall always stand in a headlong battle against justice, and inhumanity shall always seek to rob the innocence and the hope of life. To understand this is to understand message of the Prince of Peace as He tells to us that He came to bring a sword.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Christian life is not a simple one, nor is it an easy one, regardless of the beautiful simplicity of the fundamental tenants of it. Though ultimately the core message is one of peace, a wondrous peace that blooms from love, it often comes through challenge and adversity, a constant labour whose effort is born in the hardships and the difficulties of this temporal existence. The faithful follower of our blessed Saviour is then a perpetual warrior who takes up the cause that others may abide in a love that is found through hope.
Fearless and unflinching, then the steadfast duty of the disciple is to do that which is right. With courage and charity written in their hearts, lead by the undaunted force of the Spirit of the Lord, they look to the world and, in considering the hardship of others, extend the full measure of that abundant grace to ease suffering, to end injustice, to stop slavery and to break captivity. In testimony to the salvation that freed them, they stand with the righteous sword of truth for liberty that none shall remain in dark bondage and hopeless estate.
Look then to the world as it sits, and to your life as it stands, and consider for yourself the force of your witness and let your life speak to the love by which you have been saved. Follow in the path of our blessed Saviour that peace, though it may seem far off, may be obtainable through the sword of the Lord’s truth wielded in your hand for the lives of others.
Then shall the road to true and lasting hope, the hope that is unmistakable in the wondrous message of our Saviour, shall be achieved.
Let us pray:
You, to the poor and the oppressed, are a stronghold O Lord, a fortress for the persecuted and the subjugated. A sword of truth Your Word is the weapon of freedom to which no chains may withstand as it shatters bondage and slavery.
In hope show forth Your cause, in love let it testify to the majesty of Your glory through Your call to Your people. Then shall we stand with steadfast devotion to Your cause that we may, with unyielding and unrelenting courage, look upon the plight of those who live in poor and grim estate, bound to hopelessness, held by darkness as our own struggle, knowing that, so long as adversity exists it is our adversary, a challenge to the soul.
Send Your light and Your faithful care blessed Lord, that the downcast shall be uplifted. Bring them to graces end that they may find peace where it once eluded them and show, in their lives, the path to freedom so that, by Your glory, that light may shine forth in their souls. Be the wondrous hope of their abiding presence, and, by Your blessed Spirit, lead them to those places where they may dwell in the harmony of your perfect peace and Your blessed love.
Upon You then rests all of our praise as we lift Your name on high, O Lord of our Hope, for, in the cause of those who struggle in the most meager of estates and in the darkest of days, You are the majestic presence of their guiding beacon, steadfast as the refuge of their salvation.
In the name of Your Son, our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
We live not for ourselves but the higher purpose of our enduring Lord, given to us at Calvary’s heights when, in His magnificent sacrifice, He bore our sins, dying that we may live. We are, in that enduring love, a new creation, born of hope, grace, and charity. It is then, as we consider this life, that we see the changed nature of our existence wove through us by the power of the Spirit.
We may then still, in this temporal existence, remain in the flesh, yet the flesh, that mortal coil, remains as nothing more than a shell for the spirit. The spirit though, giving voice to the soul, washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, offers to us a true nature, a true purpose for our being: to be like that of our blessed Saviour, giving ourselves in love to others in a hope that shows itself in the cause of liberty.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this world it is not enough to say Christ lives within me, it must be the vigilant task of the faithful disciple to show that He lives within with a life that is unwavering in its commitment to others. It is a life that looks to the dark bondage and the grim estate of those who live in slavery and oppression, persecution and hopelessness, injustice and hurt, and not only asks of itself what may be done for them but ensures it is done, waging a constant battle against the chains that will bind. To remain in that mortal life while living in faith, through Christ by the power of the Spirit, is to know there is more that God has planned for your life in the struggles and the adversities of this world.
How then shall you meet that call and what then shall your testimony be when you see it before you...
Let us pray:
Stir within us a noble heart and a courageous spirit that our lives may recite Your love written upon our souls O Lord. Gird us with Your testimony, guard us with Your hope that, by Your witness we may speak forth Your liberty that, by Your majesty, freedom shall reign in the lives of those who are in need.
Listen, O Lord, to the cries of Your people and equip us that we may stand steadfast against those forces that bind. Hear, O Father, the calls of Your children and arm them that they may stand in defense of the weak and the oppressed, the persecuted and the subjugated. Bear not their pleas falling upon deaf ears but let your light guide their ways that they may step with confidence in a love and peace offered in the struggles and the adversities that may grip Your creation in darkness.
Fight with us O God, let your freedom sweep through the hidden places with a washing tide that none shall be lost or forgotten. Look upon us with favour, O Lord of Hosts, that, by Your hand, Your love shall break the chains that are forged in hatred. Be not silent to the desperation of the slaves and the captives, the prisoners and the hostages. By Your mercy, raise Your voice like a deafening thunder to call them from the grim estate they now find themselves amidst.
Hold Your protecting hand over the lost, show your guiding hand to those who need be found, and we shall, by the wondrous hope You have given, find our voices to sing your glorious praise.
In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.