Pastor’s Corner

Dear Cornerstone Family:

As we reflect on the events of this week, this is a helpful prayer entitled “A Liturgy in a Time of Widespread Suffering” from the book “Every Moment Holy: Death, Grief, and Hope by Douglas McKelvey” This also serves as a good preparation for the sermon from 1 Peter 4:12-19 as we gather virtually at 9:00 AM on Sunday. 
   
                                                                    Pastor Brian
 
Christ Our King, 

Our world is overtaken by unexpected calamity, and by a host of attending fears, worries, and insecurities.

We witness suffering, confusion, and hardship multiplied around us, and we find ourselves swept up in these same anxieties and troubles, dismayed by so many uncertainties.

Now we turn to you, O God, in this season of our common distress.

Be merciful, O Christ, to those who suffer, to those who worry, to those who grieve, to those who are threatened or harmed in any way by this upheaval. Let your holy compassions be active throughout the world even now— tending the afflicted, comforting the brokenhearted, and bringing hope to many who are hopeless.

Use even these hardships to woo our hearts nearer to you, O God.

Indeed, O Father, may these days of disquiet become a catalyst for conviction and repentance, for the tendering of our affections, for the stirring of our sympathies, for the refining of our love.

We are your people, who are called by you,
We need not be troubled or alarmed.

Indeed, O Lord, let us love now more fearlessly, remembering that you created us, and appointed us to live in these very places, in the midst of these unsettled times.

It is no surprise to you that we are here now, sharing in this turmoil along with the rest of our society, for you have called your children to live as salt and light among the nations, praying and laboring for the flourishing of the communities where we dwell, acting as agents of your forgiveness, salvation, healing, reconciliation, and hope, in the very midst of an often-troubled world.

And in these holy vocations you have not left us helpless, O Lord, because you have not left us at all. Your Spirit remains among us.

Inhabit now your church, O Spirit of the Risen Christ. Unite and equip your people for the work before them.

Father, empower your children to live as your children. In times of distress let us respond, not as those who would instinctively entrench for our own self-preservation, but rather as those who—in imitation of their Lord—would move in humble obedience toward the needs and hurts of their neighborhoods and communities.

You were not ashamed to share in our sufferings, Jesus. Let us now be willing to share in yours, serving as your visible witnesses in this broken world.

Hear now these words, you children of God, and be greatly encouraged:

The Lord’s throne in heaven is yet occupied, his rule is eternal, and his good purposes on earth will be forever accomplished. So we need never be swayed by the brief and passing panics of this age.

You are the King of the Ages, O Christ, and history is held in your Father’s hands.

We, your people, know the good and glorious end of this story. Our heavenly hope is secure. In this time of widespread suffering then, let us rest afresh in the surpassing peace of that vision, that your whole church on earth might be liberated to love more generously and sacrificially.

Now labor in and through us, O Lord, extending and multiplying the many expressions of your mercy.
Amen
Preparation for Worship – January 10, 2021
 This Sunday’s sermon:  “Don’t Be Surprised” – I Peter 4:12-19
Click here for this week’s bulletin.
In preparation for the sermon:  “When we rightly understand how God presses our sufferings into his holy and loving purposes, rendering them servants for our good, we are also inclined not to be surprised, but rather to expect persecutions. Armed with such expectation, we learn to regard our afflictions not as disturbing strangers, but as expected agents ministering for our advancement in grace.” – William Harrell
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