Tender God and Master,
It was you, Father, who provided safe passage for your own across the swelling waves of the ocean. You displayed compassion and tender mercies to a people most pitiful. Our father was an Amorite and our mother an Hittite. We belonged to pagan ways. We were by nature, children of wrath. But you initiated a relationship with us. When we were polluted, unloved, and discarded by the world, you set your love upon us by washing us with the blood of your Son. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being our Rescuer through the most heroic act known to mankind. You covered yourself in our stench and filth. And in turn, we were bathed and dressed in your beauty and glory. You were plunged into darkness and hell so that we could be engulfed with the light of heaven. Through the Spirit’s sanctification, we smelled like wild roses. Our garments of fine silk and fur dazzled others. The Spirit made us sparkle from head to toe. No more wounds and bruises and putrifying sores. We were a people growing higher and outward.
What more could we ask? Triune God of splendor and glory, we were your trophies of grace. We had everything. But sadly, we in America are intoxicated with our Americanization more than we are with you. We have slipped from our trust in you to the sickening fixation on our own beauty. We love our clothes, our music, our poetry, and our arts more than we do you. In our dullness, your Being has become uninspiring in contrast to the human heroes whom we elevate. Your words evoke yawns (we struggle for any measure of concentration), while our words are captivating and motivational. We easily find time to talk with people throughout the week, but we can hardly muster up fifteen minutes of conversation a day with you. Have we lost our awe of you? All of us need surgery on our eyes, Tender God and Master. We place ourselves on the operating table. In our sickness, we call for the needed Physician. It is an urgent cry. In Gospel power, your Spirit must remove the opaque film from our eyes so that we can see you. And enjoy you.
Lord God Almighty, we have forgotten your works in this country. And when we do reminisce on the past, we are filled with divisive anger and paralyzing fears as we question, “Why were the former days better than these?” (Ecc. 7:10). We have trouble realizing that power does not come from our personal abilities or collective strength. God, help us to experientially know that it is your Spirit who can break through both the opposition of the wicked on the outside and the apathy that abounds within. Forgive us for when we fear the gods of others, more than you, the one true God of all. We have no wisdom, no wisdom at all, if we do not fear you. Please capture our thinking so that we might regain our overwhelming wonder of your great works – and the center of that work being your all sufficient gospel.
Tender God and Master, for us in America, may we in you, and you alone, be most satisfied.