In Darkness (A Litany of Hope)

Where O Light are you in this darkness? Give us hope.

We are drowning in the nightfall that surrounds us. We are shrouded and enveloped by the dark cloud cover. We are walking in shadows and grasping for walls as blind leading the blind. Night, my God, it threatens to devour and swallow us whole.

Where O Light are you in this darkness? Give us hope.

For we fear this darkness will not pass. We fear this is the way life will always be. We fear that death will pronounce our final verdict and declaration. Night, my God, it threatens to devour and swallow us whole.

Where O Light are you in this darkness? Give us hope.

Our hearts are crushed and broken. Our sufferings are excruciating and immeasurable. Our tears continue to fall but they do not console. Night, my God, it threatens to devour and swallow us whole.

Where O Light are you in this darkness? Give us hope.

Give us hope this darkness will pass. Give us hope that life will not be overtaken. Give us hope that death will not be the final victor. Night, my God, it threatens to devour and swallow us whole.

Where O Light are you in this darkness? Give us hope.

Light of forgiveness and grace break through. Light of justice and mercy prevail. Light of love illuminate. Day, my God, may it break and make us whole.

Where O light are you in this darkness?

Where O light are you in this darkness?

Where O light are you in this darkness?

Give us hope.

The Light of Christ is breaking in beautifully and victoriously. And the Light of Christ, continues through this body.

We will be the light that pushes back when nightfall surrounds us. We will be the light that overcomes when shrouded and enveloped by the dark cloud cover. We will be the light that exposes the shadows so that all may see clearly the paths of righteousness. Day, my God, is breaking. Make us whole.

We will be the light in the darkness. Hope is in this place.

We will not fear and this darkness will pass. We will not fear because life will not be overtaken. We will not fear death because this is not our final verdict or declaration. Day, my God, is breaking. Make us whole.

We will be the light in the darkness. Hope is in this place.

We will carry each other until our hearts are healed and restored. We will embrace each other until our sufferings are stories of victory. We will hold each other until our tears are wiped away and all is made right. Day, my God, is breaking. Make us whole.

We will be the light in the darkness. Hope is in this place.

Let us be hope each day until this darkness passes. Let us give hope that life does not always have to be this way. Let us shout and proclaim our hope and that death is not the final victor. Day, my God, is breaking. Make us whole.

We will be the light in the darkness. Hope is in this place.

For we are the light of forgiveness and grace that is breaking through. For we are the light of justice and mercy that is prevailing. For we are the light of love that is illuminating. Day, my God, is breaking. Let us bring shalom to your people and to your land.

We are the Light in the darkness. We are the Body of hope.

Amen.

I Don’t Need Your Legislation (A Good Friday Litany)

I know who I am.

I know what I signed up for.

I know whose life I have chosen to pattern my life after.

I know that patterning my life after Jesus comes with a cost.

And to that end, I realize and accept the fact that it could cost me everything, including my own life.

But despite that reality, I have chosen, and continue to choose, to bear the cross of Christ and to be led by the Spirit of God.

For it is only at the cross where all that enslaves is crucified. And it is only in the Spirit where I, at last, find freedom.

To that end, I do not need anyone or anything to protect me.

And I certainly do not need any legislation to pronounce the freedom I already have, and will continue to have, despite my changing circumstance or situation.

For if my loving of friend and enemy offends or is a crime, then arrest me.

If praying or blessing offends or is a crime, then imprison me.

If my Kingdom values (which always looks like Jesus) offends or is a crime, then ridicule and ostracize me.

If standing up for the oppressed or marginalized, or by associating with “sinners” and outcasts offends or is a crime, then spit on me.

If honoring God with my entire being (my words, my life, my all) offends or is a crime, then beat and give me your most severe punishment.

If patterning my life after Jesus and going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, and giving the shirt off of my back offends or is a crime, then crucify me.

But hear me in this- I do not need a law to protect me.

I do not need a government to grant me a freedom I already have.

I do not need a legislator to promise or guarantee a freedom that I will continue to have.

My freedom is in Christ alone.

Whether I am poor or rich… I am free.

Whether I am enslaved or emancipated… I am free.

Whether I am imprisoned or liberated… I am free.

Whether I am a servant or a master… I am free.

Whether I am suffering or in comfort… I am free.

For it is God alone who has freed me. And that freedom is enjoyed in any and all circumstances or situations of my life.

I have counted the cost of following Jesus Christ and accepted the freedom he has given me. That is sufficient.

“That’s all nice and good until they come after you and then punish you and make an example.”

To which I would humbly reply, “If punishment for loving was good enough for my Savior and Lord, then may it be good enough for me.”

For it was Jesus who loved, yet faced accusation.

It was Jesus who loved, yet faced the heavy hand of opposition groups, religious groups, and the government.

It was Jesus who loved, and lost everything.

It was Jesus who loved, and was mocked, beaten, and spit upon. It was Jesus who loved, and was put to a wretched and inhumane death.

All of this without legislation to protect his religious liberty.

He made no appeal to the governing authorities for his right to practice his faith. He lived and faced the consequences and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they are doing it.”

[We ought to] think of [ourselves] the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭5-8‬ MSG)

Let his life be our life.

Let his love be our love.

Let his way be our way.

Let his death be our death.

For that is where life and freedom are found.

It is for this reason, that no Christian should hide fearfully behind man-made legislation. For if we live our lives like Christ, ought we not expect to be treated as Christ was treated?

It is only when we face opposition, persecution, threats, and ultimately death, that we can show the world, as the Body of Christ in the world, what great lengths we will go to in order to demonstrate the sacrificial, cross-like love of God.

And that kind of love will never be found in legislation, it can only be found when we pick up our cross.

“Yes, and all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”- ‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭12‬

Brandon

I Don’t Need Your Legislation (A Good Friday Litany)

I know who I am.
I know what I signed up for.
I know whose life I have chosen to pattern my life after.
I know that patterning my life after Jesus comes with a cost.

And to that end, I realize and accept the fact that it could cost me everything, including my own life.

But despite that reality, I have chosen, and continue to choose, to bear the cross of Christ and to be led by the Spirit of God.

For it is only at the cross where all that enslaves is crucified. And it is only in the Spirit where I, at last, find freedom.

To that end, I do not need anyone or anything to protect me.

And I certainly do not need any legislation to pronounce the freedom I already have, and will continue to have, despite my changing circumstance or situation.

For if my loving of friend and enemy offends or is a crime, then arrest me.

If praying or blessing offends or is a crime, then imprison me.

If my Kingdom values (which always looks like Jesus) offends or is a crime, then ridicule and ostracize me.

If standing up for the oppressed or marginalized, or by associating with “sinners” and outcasts offends or is a crime, then spit on me.

If honoring God with my entire being (my words, my life, my all) offends or is a crime, then beat and give me your most severe punishment.

If patterning my life after Jesus and going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, and giving the shirt off of my back offends or is a crime, then crucify me.

But hear me in this.

I do not need a law to protect me.
I do not need a government to grant me a freedom I already have.
I do not need a legislator to promise or guarantee a freedom that I will continue to have.

My freedom is in Christ alone.

Whether I am poor or rich… I am free.
Whether I am enslaved or emancipated… I am free.
Whether I am imprisoned or liberated… I am free.
Whether I am a servant or a master… I am free.
Whether I am suffering or in comfort… I am free.

For it is God alone who has freed me. And that freedom is enjoyed in any and all circumstances or situations of my life.

I have counted the cost of following Jesus Christ and accepted the freedom he has given me. That is sufficient.

“That’s all nice and good until they come after you and then punish you and make an example.”

To which I would humbly reply, “If punishment for loving was good enough for my Savior and Lord, then may it be good enough for me.”

For it was Jesus who loved, yet faced accusation.
It was Jesus who loved, yet faced the heavy hand of opposition groups, religious groups, and the government.
It was Jesus who loved, and lost everything.
It was Jesus who loved, and was mocked, beaten, and spit upon. It was Jesus who loved, and was put to a wretched and inhumane death.

All of this without legislation to protect his religious liberty.

He made no appeal to the governing authorities for his right to practice his faith. He lived and faced the consequences and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they are doing it.”

[We ought to] think of [ourselves] the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭5-8‬ MSG)

Let his life be our life.
Let his love be our love.
Let his way be our way.
Let his death be our death.

For that is where life and freedom are found.

It is for this reason, that no Christian should hide fearfully behind man-made legislation. For if we live our lives like Christ, ought we not expect to be treated as Christ was treated?

It is only when we face opposition, persecution, threats, and ultimately death, that we can show the world, as the Body of Christ in the world, what great lengths we will go to in order to demonstrate the sacrificial, cross-like love of God.

And that kind of love will never be found in legislation, it can only be found when we pick up our cross.

“Yes, and all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”- ‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭12‬

Brandon