Can God Be Glorified in the PCUSA?

June 30, 2012

Last Sunday I preached a sermon on the last (Protestant) line of the The Lord’s Prayer: For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen. What is “sticking” this week, as I transition to Pittsburgh and await the PCUSA General Assembly opening this afternoon, is the acclamation that God is in charge, God is able, and God deserves the credit. I am praying in advance of opening worship this afternoon that God would be glorified as the King of kings and Lord of lords; that we as a body would submit to God’s power and yield to God’s will; and that we would demure in the face of such glory and turn all attention to the Risen Lord rather than our blue-blood Presbyterianism. It is going to be hard, I know, but our Reformed roots will not save us, only the planter of the Tree of Life can do that.

God’s Kingdom includes a reign of our own individual hearts. So the opening of GA is a time of confession and humility before the throne of grace. As presbyters, the commissioners understand that their job is to discern the will of God, but they can only see to the extent they are willing to obey the will of God and repent when they do not.

God’s power is real and, um, powerful enough to break through and change things—even change us. If he did this, would this body recognize the Lord’s mighty arm? Or would it dismiss displays of God’s glory as “industrial light and magic” and go on with a human agenda? How open are we Presbyterians, really, when it comes to welcoming God’s miraculous intervention in our waywardness? The heart of the gospel, the gospel for everyone, resides in the place where Jesus Christ transforms us in his image, to a point that obedience to him becomes not only possible but second-nature.

In the flesh, miraculous intervention to support or condone our very human wishes and desires is preferred, of course. But what if God were to break through with a bold, costly agenda—what could that look like for us as a people? Our liberal wing thinks this is what they have been doing for years, so we must be careful here not to commit ourselves to an agenda that is worldly. While God’s agenda loves the world, it was necessary that God save the world from itself and sin by his atoning work on the cross. But in our day-to-day decision-making, how can we tell the difference between a human agenda and a divine one? We measure every idea and every desire against the Word and witness of Scripture. And why do I call God’s agenda costly? Because Jesus said the narrow way of faithfulness to him involves cross-bearing, sacrifice, selflessness, and personal transformation. All of these things, at the very least, take us out of our comfort zones, which is one reason why we resist them. But it is a wonderful thing, being a disciple of Jesus, to discover God’s comfort in uncomfortable situations where we are not the center of the universe and God’s will is believed and done in joy and dependence upon his Spirit.

This is what it means to me that the Kingdom belongs to our heavenly Father, that his power is able to overcome our obstacles, and that God himself will be glorified for what only God can do. In other words, God is in charge, God is able, and God deserves the credit. So join me in praying:

Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
Now and forever! Amen.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Can God Be Glorified in the PCUSA?”

  1. Linda Lee, mukilteo Says:

    Rev Mary ,

    Your encouragement and wisdom issohelpful. THANK YOU !
    I will join you in praying for God’s will, wisdom,and
    Glory.

  2. Carl Pelz Says:

    So well said that we should “…demure in the face of such glory and turn all attention to the Risen Lord rather than our blue-blood Presbyterianism. It is going to be hard, I know, but our Reformed roots will not save us.” Certainly too, we should ”…measure every idea and every desire against the Word and witness of Scripture.” While it’s difficult to imagine PCUSA adhering to that principle outside God’s intervention, there are also doubts that ECO is committed in deed as well as word to that principle. Without that level of commitment to scripture in practice, the terrible state of the PCUSA could play out again in the ECO.

  3. pam Says:

    At least four of us are praying in unison this week.

  4. pam Says:

    And next I clicked on this daily prayer blog:
    Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. -Prov. 3:13

    Prayer: Lord, You are the God greatly feared in the counsel of the holy ones, and before You the angels cry Holy, Holy, Holy. There is no one else like You, a God of justice, compassion, and wisdom.

    Lord, I come before You today in the midst of great uncertainty, with concerns about how to manage the affairs of this life. I thank You for Your invitation to come boldly before Your throne to receive help in times like these. You are my rock.

    Show me Lord, the right choices to make at this time. Release to me Lord, Your divine wisdom. Help me move forward in confidence, and enable me Lord to stand in faith and honor Your Holy name in this season. Open my mouth with wise counsel for others, and guide me Lord that I might be a blessing to those around me.

    Lord, I need Your wisdom. There are many voices saying, “do this and do that,” but You are the One I look to. Guard me from deception and fear, and guide me with Your eye upon me. I choose to not lean on my own understanding, but I trust in You and I wait for Your counsel. Speak to me Lord, for I am listening. In Jesus name, amen.

    From Prayer Central http://economy.prayercentral.net/?page_id=4

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