Our Father in Heaven we come before Thee this morning with the confession that “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor. We are His people and we can only bow before Him in praise and adoration. He gave His life for us that we might be free from the guilt and the curse of sin. He makes us free. Men seek all their lives looking for freedom and we have found it. Men seek all their lives to escape a conscience that condemns them and we have had our conscience washed with pure water. Men seek all their lives for meaning and purpose in life and we have found it in living for the Lord Jesus Christ. Men seek all their lives looking for deliverance from boredom, from the curse of repetition, and the emptiness of the human condition. Man is suicidal or he will eventually become suicidal. Men destroy themselves and those around them. We have found life through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a reason for living even in the midst of trial and hardship. What greater joy is there than having purpose in living – a purpose higher than ourselves and for which we are willing to die! Until a man has found something to die for, he really has nothing to live for.
Lord, we fear the power of those who rule over us and who do not recognize the One who rules over them. Day by day the laws increase. Everything we do comes under scrutiny. The all seeing eye of powerful men seek to watch and control us in everything we do.
Even as bad, we fear a generation that has been raised on materialism and entertainment. They are amusing themselves to death. Seeking fulfillment they find emptiness. Seeking a thrill, they find bondage. Seeking to be different, they become just like all their peers. Seeking acceptance, they find rejection.
Lord, be merciful to a generation that we have raised without biblical principles or without a fear of the Living God. We made them what they are. We taught them that they came from monkeys, and when we see them acting like monkeys, why are we surprised! We should be sad, because they are what we made them to be.
Television has become our Chapel and the Theatre has become our Church. The beautiful, yet immoral stars, of the entertainment world have become our idols. Wise men understand that entertainment is more than amusing ourselves - it is a sermon – a sermon from a secular pulpit where men preach what they believe. No one is neutral. Everyone has a religion. Everyone is what they believe. Everyone has faith in something. Some have faith in education. Some have faith in their own ability. Some have faith in the civil government. Some have faith in faith. We have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have taken our stand. We stand with Him or we will not stand at all.
Lord, help us to count the cost. As the world becomes more pagan, the more difficult it will be to be a Christian. Give us strength in the day of difficulty. Give us boldness in the day of fear.
Lord, help us to spread the good news. Man is fallen. Man is caught up in sin. We all have those sins that so easily beset us. The Good News is that God can deliver us from the power of sin. We do not have to live in misery. We cannot reverse the past. We cannot change the things we regret, but we can start over. That is all God asks of us. Just start over. From where you are, forgetting the past, just start anew like a new born babe. Help us to turn to Christ, to unite ourselves with His Church by baptism and to become part of the body of Christ, not merely mystical, but in a real world with real people, living with others who are like us, worshipping with them, praying with them, rejoicing with them, and weeping with them. O Lord, what a wonderful thing the Church is. It is important to us. Without it we would lose our way. It is Your Bride. It is the One You love. We want to be a part of that which You love.
Lord, keep us from being on the fringe. Help us to give to the Church rather than just take. Give us things to do. Give us people to help with deeds of mercy and compassion.
Grant the blessing of Your presence here this day as we feed on the word and as we feed on the sacrament of the Lord’s. Reassure us of Your love. We need reaffirmation. We need it constantly. We ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.