When it comes to worship (Divine Service) Lutherans focus mainly on how God serves us: restoring us to Him through the forgiveness of sins, building our faith and equipping the church for service to the world. Yet as the priesthood of believers (the church – 1 Peter 2:9), a part of our worship is nevertheless an act for the world where we join with Jesus and intercede on the world’s behalf. As St Paul points out in today’s sermon text of 1 Timothy 2:1-7, this is God given work to do. And it is directly tied up in evangelism and mission! For God wants all people to be saved (1 Tim 2:4). Jesus has paid the ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6). But as with Paul’s day, worldly temporal affairs have an impact on the spread of the gospel: hence the instruction to make ‘petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving… for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ (1 Tim 2:1-2). This is why we pray the Prayer of the Church. And this is also why we focus on other’s needs in this prayer more than our own. As we do, we can be sure we are active in mission for the sake of the cross of Christ.
December 16, 2016 Pastor Matt Bishop