Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
O merciful God, on this day I give special thanks to you for the resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. By His resurrection from the dead, you gave us a sign of your promise to rescue us from death, your power to do it, and your intention to accomplish it. I remember today that you took upon yourself to suffer the terrible pain and fear all people face, voluntarily, for no reason except your love for us; and I thank you with every ounce of my being for your extraordinary love and mercy. All glory be to You, wonderful God.
Holy God, Lord most gracious!
Rebuke me not in your anger, nor chasten me in your wrath!
Holy you have called us to come to you.
I feel unworthy, for I have failed you again and again.
I feel like running away, yet you keep calling me.
Have mercy on me and my fellow believers, O God.
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
But You, O God the Lord,
Deal with me for Your name’s sake;
Because Your mercy is good, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.
What sorrow awaits the unjust judges
and those who issue unfair laws.
They deprive the poor of justice
and deny the rights of the needy among my people.
They prey on widows
and take advantage of orphans.
What will you do when I punish you,
when I send disaster upon you from a distant land?
To whom will you turn for help?
Where will your treasures be safe?
You will stumble along as prisoners
or lie among the dead.
But even then the Lord’s anger will not be satisfied.
His fist is still poised to strike.
Most Christians have difficulty reconciling religion and politics. Throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, we are told to support the weak: the poor, the oppressed, the handicapped, widows and orphans, the elderly. Here, Isaiah rebukes people in power who make unjust laws and decrees, specifically laws that are harsh on the unfortunate, allowing them to be preyed upon legally. He issues a dire warning to them, telling them that God will punish them harshly—and still be angry!
ut how do we reconcile this with Christ’s disdain for secular politics? He repeatedly, both by his words and his actions, warns us to steer clear of entanglement with the government. Our hearts and minds should be focused on living God’s will, on helping others, on prayer and repentence. In short, we are to concentrate on what is really important: Our own thoughts and actions, not the actions of others.
Christ showed downright disregard for authority. He did not rebel against it, he did not support it — he simply obeyed the secular law, seeming to regard it as more of a nuisance than anything. Most famously, when Pharisee scribes tried to trick him by asking about the religious implications of paying taxes to a heathen regime, he delivered the famous words, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.”
Paul amplified Christ’s message in this regard, as he did in many different areas, even going so far as to tell slaves to accept their earthly condition, keeping their eye on the reward they were laying up in heaven: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:22) Paul was true to Christ’s highest advice, to take one’s earthly struggles with a joyful heart, concentrating one’s efforts on the life to come.
God has reserved the judging and punishment of all sinners to Himself. Our nature is to usurp God’s role for ourself; for it is much, much easier to judge others than to seek holiness in our own thoughts and deeds. Yet, the first is forbidden to us, and the second required of us.