December 31, 2023
On this last day of the year we are apt to reflect on the upheaval at home and abroad. Nations are at war to consolidate power. There are active movements to threaten and subvert moral law. But as the nations rage against you we are told that you, who sit in the heavens, laugh them to scorn and hold them in derision. You have admonished the rulers and leaders of this world to be wise and be warned because you will cast the wicked to the ground; You have cautioned rulers and leaders to serve you with fear and rejoice with trembling.
And why should rulers or any of us “rejoice with trembling” in the face of your terrible, overarching power? Because you, the Most High King, Creator of all things, are merciful in your power. You reach down to gather in the outcasts, to heal the sick and the broken hearted. You are all powerful, yet you are understanding beyond measure. You are so great you have numbered the stars, yet you lift up the humble and afflicted. In your forbearance you sent Emmanuel, God with us, in the person of your son Jesus to reconcile us to you through the forgiveness of our sins. Surely, there is no other God like you—infinitely powerful, yet merciful in ways we cannot comprehend.
We sing to you, Lord, with thanksgiving. We look to you, not in abject fear—though trembling as we should in the presence of your power and greatness—but with a thankful heart, for this is what you desire from us. We look to you and you give us food in due season. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. You take pleasure in those who fear you and who hope in your steadfast love.
And Father, we see your power over the physical world in this psalm, for while we furiously debate the causes of changes in our climate, you have told us it is you who sends out your commands to the earth, to give snow like wool and scatter the frost like ashes. Then you send out your word and the winds blow, the ice melts and the rivers flow. We rest in your will and divine care. We know that while we have stewardship, our planet is not left to the decision or indecision of man. but to your almighty power.
It is good to sing praise to you, our God. It is fitting and pleasant to offer songs of praise to you. You have declared your word, your statutes and decrees, to Jacob and ultimately to us. You know the desire of this congregation of believers to follow and obey you. Show us our needs. Help us in our inadequacies. Forgive our sins. Help us to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called.
Through Christ our Lord we pray
And all of God’s people said,