Mid-Week Worship - Our Radical God
Words by David Hollows
Our Radical God
A prayer: for the joy of a fresh sunrise and the hope each new day brings, for a love that knows no bounds, we praise you, our wonderful God. But even as these words of praise pass our lips, we know that we have not always lived as those who are loved, forgiven and set free. We have allowed ourselves to be imprisoned by our selfishness, captivated by the unessential and limited by a lack of love. Through the healing power of your love made flesh, Redeemer God, make us whole to live and love with open hearts and generous spirits that we may worship you.
Photo by Christopher Rusev via Unsplash
'I will praise and give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples and I will sing praises unto you among the nations. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens and let your glory be over all the earth. '
(Psalm 108 verses 3 and 5)
Praise time: please now spend as much time as you have to praise God singing your choice of favourite hymns and songs. Perhaps you may sing along to CDs or YouTube and you may wish to include the following hymn:
'Come sing the praise of Jesus' (Mission Praise 101)
Prayers; as you continue in the presence of God, give to Him your prayers of thanksgiving for all the gifts you have received from Him in the past few days. You may wish to include this prayer;
I praise you for the life that stirs within me. I will praise you for the beautiful world in which I live; for the earth, sea and sky, for singing birds and scented flowers. I praise you for daily routine and leisure time, for hobbies, music and simple pleasures. I praise you for family and friends and for my relationship with you. Great God, I thank you for all the joy and peace I have in my life.
Bible reading; Judges chapter 5 verses 12 to 27
Key idea; Deborah said; ‘March on, my soul, be strong’ (Judges chapter 5 verse 21)
After removing the patient’s heart to repair it, the surgeon returned the heart to the chest and began gently massaging it back to life. But the heart would not restart. More intense measures followed and still the heart would not beat. Finally, the surgeon knelt by the patient and said; ‘the operation went perfectly. Your heart is repaired. Now, tell your heart to beat.’ The heart began to beat.
This true story reflects the simple and the radical; a radical operation of removing a heart for repair and a simple instruction to remind the heart what to do.
In the Bible reading there is the radical; the battle between the Israelites and the army of Jabin is ended by the radical action of Jael, an Israelite woman who kills Sisera, the leader of the enemy army, with a tent peg hammered into his skull. Deborah, a prophetess and judge in Israel, leads the Israelite soldiers in battle, such is her radical determination to defeat the enemy.
Photo by Silas Baisch via Unsplash
We have a radical God and there are many examples in the Bible when we learn of the radical nature of our God. The word ‘radical’ has several meanings but each one links to God.
Opposite; God often does the opposite of what we expect; in the story of Joseph, one minute he is a prisoner and within the hour he is prime minister (Genesis chapter 41). David is transformed from shepherd boy to giant killer (1 Samuel chapter 17) and Saul is transformed from an enemy of Jesus to being an ambassador for Jesus (Acts chapter 9).
Extreme; sometimes God has to use the extreme to express His opinion; Noah and the flood story (Genesis chapter 7 onwards) or better still, Jonah and the whale (Jonah chapter 2)
Different; God often chooses people to express how different a God He is; God chose the people of Israel to be a different type of people to those in surrounding areas and to be an example of how community should/could be (Joshua chapter 24). The reply of Jesus to John , His cousin, about the role of Jesus, is evidence of just how different Jesus is as the Son of God (Luke chapter 7 verses 18 to 24).
Unexpected; God often surprises people; Moses meets with God in the burning bush (Exodus chapter 3). Mary is given the news from angel Gabriel about the baby she will carry – two examples of radical here! (Luke chapter 1) The radical entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey (Luke chapter 19).
New; God often makes a person or a situation ‘new’ or improved; Jesus often raises the status of women as He does when He meets the woman at the well in Samaria (John chapter 4) as well as for those non- Jewish believers such as Cornelius in his encounter with Peter (Acts chapter 10).
One of the most radical events yet to come will be when there is a new heaven and new earth (Revelation chapter 21).
The radical nature of our God is clearly expressed in the Song of Mary – the Magnificat – as she responds to the radical news she has heard and reflects upon all that God is doing (Luke chapter 1 verses 46 to 55).
Our God is a radical God – how radical are you in response to your faith in Him?
A prayer of response;
‘For He who is almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.’
God, when you call me to be radical for you, grant me through the power of your Spirit your radical nature that I may be strong and faithful, gracious and loving.
‘March on, my soul, be strong!’
Photo by William Farlow via Unsplash
Prayers for others; please now spend time with God asking Him to bring a radical response to the needs of those you know and learn about in the media. You may wish to include the following prayer;
Lord of all human life we pray for those who live their lives in sadness, for people who walk the streets in fear, for the newly unemployed and for those in war zones. We intercede for lives broken with pain and heartache, for those abandoned by society and for communities divided by racial and social tensions. We pray for those who are discriminated against and for the many who are powerless and voiceless to change their situation. God of the radical, we pray that your Kingdom of peace and love will grow across your world until every human being knows their true value in you and their position within your loving family. In the name of Jesus, we pray.
The Lord’s Prayer
Praise time: please now bring again your worship in hymn and song to God who loves to share in the praise of His people. You may wish to include the following hymn:
'Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord' (Mission Praise 30)
The Blessing: The love of the faithful Creator, the peace of the wounded Healer, the joy of the challenging Spirit and the hope of the Three in One, surround you and encourage you today and forever.
Amen Extra; if you have access to YouTube either on-line or TV, please try this new worship song;
'Christ is mine forevermore' – City alight
Thank you for sharing your worship with us. God bless you