26.July.2015, #306

Scripture was Acts 17:1-9, and the theme was How does the truth of the gospel change the cultural rules of engagement? Paul goes to Athens and does his thing, the thing he finds necessary based on his reading of the Gospel, and it doesn't go over well with the natives. The second half of our musical/liturgical portion was in keeping with that theme (hence Neil Young questioning how we should be conceiving of God and the prayer about failing to love like Jesus), but for the first part I decided to flip the question to How does the truth of the gospel change?  A very interesting question indeed.  We started by singing some songs that in the Church's history have been very popular, and then we did a confession in light of the fact that we have very clearly gotten it wrong very often.  The songs are pretty thoroughly offensive so I'm not even dignifying them with a post; you can click through if need be.

The Lord's Army here

Onward, Christian Soldiers here

Lead On, O King Eternal here

Redeeming God,
We confess that we have too often got it wrong,
As a church, as a religion, as a country, as individuals.
Too often we have mistaken our assessment of our own situation for your assessment of the world, and we have placed ourselves firmly in the right with little regard for others.
Forgive us.
Half the world diets, while the other half hungers.
Half the world is housed comfortably, while the other half is struggles for proper shelter.
Half the world pursues profit, while the other half senses loss.
Redeem our souls,
redeem our peoples,
redeem our times.
Give us this day the scrubbing that each of our hearts distinctly need.
Lead us not into hypocrisy,
but deliver us from arrogance and self-righteousness.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation, not our meager versions.
For you are the God who can.
We who stand in the world offer ourselves and our society for your blessed healing.
We confess we have failed to love as you did.
We have been socially unjust, and our society is imperfect, fragmented, and sometimes sick to death.
Teach us your ways in the world and in this life which we share together.
Don’t let us restrict you to a narrow ghetto labeled ‘religion,’ but lead us to worship you in the fullness of life as the Lord of politics, economics, and the arts.
Give us light to seek true morality, not in narrow legalisms but in sacrifice and open responsibility.
Show us how to express our love for you in very specific, human service to other people.
Lord, change our hearts from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, and let us give thanks to you for all of life.

The fuller explanation is here

Posted on August 10, 2015 .