Wednesday, May 15, 2013

O YHWH, How Majestic Is Your Name in All the Earth!

Here's the congregational prayer at NCC from this past Ascension Sunday and Mother's Day, shaped by Psalm 8:

O YHWH, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, the name above every name, the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord, you have exalted your holy majesty above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of children and infants you have established strength—the praise of your people. Because of your adversaries, O Lord, you produce this praise. You establish, through powerless children no less, this strength, this praise, and you do so to silence the enemy and the avenger.

So we praise you, O great God, for mothers who love your praise, for mothers zealous to pass on “the heritage of those who fear your name.” We praise you, exalted Lord, for mothers who labored in the trenches faithfully for years without concern for the world’s smiles and honors. We praise you, Father of the fatherless, for putting into mothers’ hearts the gospel longing to adopt the powerless and helpless for your praise. We praise you, our kind Maker, for our earthly mothers, who gave us bodily life and tenderly cared for us; for our heavenly mother the church, who gave us new life, and sustains that new life, all for your high honor.

As we think of your gift of life, O Giver of life, we think of the loss of life in this broken and fallen world. We think of those who’ve lost a little one, and the barren womb. Send the comfort of your presence, O God of all comfort, God of all grace. We praise you for the desire in the hearts of these women to want children to raise for your praise. And we pray that you would “fulfill every desire for good.” With the fingers that fashioned the stars, touch the womb with new life, O Lord—we ask this for the sake of your name!

                        O YHWH, our Lord, how majestic 
                        is your name in all the earth.

When we consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you put in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.

In subjecting all things to man, male and female, made in your image, you left nothing, O Creator, you left nothing not subject to man. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we see Jesus, born of a woman, made a little lower than angels; we see him crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, by the grace of God tasting death for everyone. We see Jesus, raised from the dead, exalted to the right Hand, above all rule and authority and power and dominion, above every name that is named. We see Jesus, all things under his feet, head over all things for us, the church, his body, reigning til we reign with him in a new heavens and new earth.

                        O YHWH, our Lord Jesus, how majestic 
                        is your name in all the earth.

So establish strength, almighty God, in the new humanity risen with Christ. In our weakness and the weakness of our children, establish strength, prepare praise. Help our mothers to press on in this greatest, highest calling of nurturing children for your praise. We pray, God Most High, for Christ-like mothers who humble themselves, stooping daily to take concern for the weak, lowly, despised things, offering up their bodies as sacrifices for your praise across the generations. Supply them with grace for this high and holy calling!

We, your children and your church—made for your praise!—we praise you, O Lord. We adore you! We adore your wisdom, we adore your power. What wisdom, what power, designed all this! Taking the weak, lowly, despised things of this world, to shame the strong, the high, the praised things of this world. Even taking children and their mothers and the cross to establish strength, the praise of your people—the praise of your great name

Blessed be that name above all names, the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, generation after generation, forever and ever.

O YHWH, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Amen, and amen. 

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