Broken Offerings – October 18, 2012 (Psalm 4:5)
‘Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.’ (PS 4:5)
Pretty good marriages cooling into divorce, cohabitation as a matter of course, guys joking over the porn addictions they share: in the dirty mix, homosexual practice seems as natural as the weather.
What breaks me is not the human tendency to settle for less. Each of us is subject to sin’s gravitational pull. The hard truth that should propel our prayers is that the church of Jesus Christ is helping us ‘settle.’ Diseased by her drive to make church easy, she has exchanged the call to repent with the call to relent to sin.
Of course Jesus came to dwell with sinners. But He did so to rouse and raise them from what was killing them. Today’s church may be more inclined to support us in our sin, killing us softly.
How else do you explain the biggest evangelical church in Kansas City going soft on premarital sex or another one advocating for gay couples or the Cardinal who blessed the election of a ‘married’ gay man to the parish council? (In a telling twist, the conservative who most protested the gay man was silenced by the exposure of his own adulterous affair.)
If the salt loses its savor, it is good for nothing. If the Church loses vision of what humanity can be, then the citizens of the earth have no hope.
Adulterous David got low. His offering to God was a broken heart. ‘The sacrifices of God area broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ (PS 51:17)
Hear our prayer, O God. Forgive us, Your Church, for settling. We are Your body and we have not loved others according to Your headship. Have mercy on us. Our hope is in You.
‘Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.’ (Ps. 4:5)
Perhaps after our quiet examination of soul in the days preceding, we might agree with him. Each of us is subject to the adultery of this day; none are blameless. Our foundational sacrifice is our cry for mercy. I love the Roman Catholic ‘Mystery of Faith’ in which we pray: ‘Save us, Savior of the world, for by Your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.’ Free yes, yet still crying out for saving mercies. Such a cry can emanate only from a broken spirit. We offer our whole being to Him, and cleave.
‘On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wing. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.’ (Ps. 63: 7, 8)
‘Father, as we mature in You, we grow more dependent; as trust grows, we rely less on our strength and more on Yours. Reduce us to offering our whole broken selves to You, for You to do with what You will. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.’