The Table & the Shared Meal

16 07 2014

We need to eat to live. It is a simple and basic fact of human existence. Why have we made this straight forward reality into such a complex, multi-layered, thoroughly enjoyable activity?

Eating is a multi-billion dollar industry. As a seminary student I was hired to wait tables at Olive Garden. For my family, this is not a cheap place to eat, making it a rare treat for my wife and I. While being trained the manager told us, “People do not come here just to eat food. They can do that anywhere. They come here as a form of entertainment. Presentation is everything.” This has been true for many millennia, as kings of long ago insisted that their food be served on gold platters.

However, eating has many other complexities. Many cultures, from wealthy English aristocracies to equatorial tribal peoples, have specific and set rituals for meal sharing which, if in ignorance, are performed improperly will give great offense to the host. Even heads of state meet and conduct world-changing meetings at a table, over shared food. When couples court or “date”, what is always the common denominator? A shared meal, every time! Eating has endless layers of social meaning and import.

Is it any wonder the Bible describes the tragic tumble of the human race as the result of a fruit picked, eaten, and shared between man and wife? Should we really be surprised that Jesus sealed the New Covenant between humanity and the Creator with bread and wine– a shared meal?

Eating together creates a bond, a union, a communion. Our current culture tends to trivialize most everything, shared meals included. But most cultures throughout history (and it’s still alive in ours as well) have viewed breaking bread together in sacred and holy terms. You only have to think of the famous middle-eastern custom of hospitality: even if your enemy comes to your door and enters your house, you must feed him, be courteous to him, and even protect him from harm if need be. A shared meal demands an “upgrade” in the nature of our relationships.

What is often overlooked in our modern celebrations of the Lord’s Supper, is how it should affect the relationship between participants.

A common lament in modern times centers around families not sharing meals together on a regular basis. This reality reflects both the break-down of our relationships and a partial cause of it. Our focus is elsewhere than on one another, even when we eat. Nearly all our restaurants have multiple screens to keep us distracted from those sitting across the table. Even our architecture reveals our conflicted desires on this matter– instead of “dining rooms” where the focus cannot be anything but each other and the shared meal, we now have “open concept” kitchen/dining room/living room areas. These are lauded as brining us together because those preparing the food can now participate with the larger group. But the focus tends to be on the screens or other media, and not on each other as persons who deserve attention and a hearing by loved ones. I do concede that the “open concept” is a step in the right direction away from the horrible individual TV trays where all the members of the family are oriented towards the media screen, and never on each other. But still, the disappearance of the formal dining room is a significant window on our changing culture.

In modern, Evangelical worship, we have plenty of “open” café style worship spaces, but the Table is absent or off to the side. Additionally, our focus is on the multi-media up on the platform, which includes the ubiquitous screen, the praise band and the speaker. We don’t see the other members of the family of God with that way of being oriented. In contrast, the architectural pattern of the ancient basilica had the people seated on all sides of the Lord’s Table– where they could see the focus of their worship, Christ, AND they could also see each other. The basilica was in the shape of a cross, with clergy and the choir seated “up front” behind the Table, and with worshippers to the right, left and center. This communicated something about the nature of the people of God, the church, AND about the Lord’ Supper as received by the people.

As Augustine said in the late 4th century, “You become the body of Christ; you become what you eat.”

Hans Boersma (in his book, Heavenly Participation) states: “
. . .[Paul] maintains that when, by faith, we share in the one eucharistic body, the Spirit makes us one ecclesial body. As Augustine would put it, we become what we have received. Or, as de Lubac famously phrases it, the Eucharist makes the church. . . . The telos [ultimate goal]is communion [of believers]. (pg. 114)

Boersma continues:

The goal of the celebration of the sacraments was the unity or communion of the church [the people of God in Christ]. In the last part of the Apostles’ Creed, we confess our faith in the “communion of saints.” At least, that is how we often put it. But the Latin is ambiguous: sanctorum communio could be translated either as “communion of saints” or as “communion of holy things.” For the medieval tradition, it was not an either/or option. Communion of holy things — meaning, communion with the body and blood of Christ, — was related to the communion of saints. . . . “Being in communion with someone means to receive the body of the Lord with them.” [de Lubac]. The Eucharist makes the church. . . . Sacrament and church were regarded as one and the same. (pg. 115)

Too often, the individualism of our Western culture gets the better of us in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I tend to view my reception of the elements as something I am doing for my personal, spiritual betterment. I rarely see that I am taking from the same loaf and cup my brothers and sisters are receiving from– I fail to see that we are united in Christ, through his sacrifice– His body and blood. This means I am not alone AND that I have a responsibility to be my brother’s (and sister’s) keeper. The meal of Christ makes this a joyous obligation. If we want Jesus, his family comes with Him– with all the joy and responsibility that implies.

Let me end with Boersma’s poignant words:

The ecclesial body was the sacramental reality to which the Eucharist pointed and in which it participated. . . .throughout much of the Great Tradition, the Eucharist had been regarded as the activity that created the unity of the church. (pg. 116)

I pray we see each other at the Lord’s Table the next time we gather there– that we truly see and recognize each other in Christ.


Real Worship: What Does it Sound Like?

5 06 2014

Wow. Yes. Exactly. Worship must be returned to God’s people– all of them. Liturgy means: work of the people.

Thank you Matthew Price for this article

A Table Prepared

worship band lights

When I was very young, we attended a small Baptist church in Spencer Mountain, NC. The congregation was often full and the choir was exceptionally large for a church of that size. I remember the choir specials being plenteous and the sound, heavenly. The choir often sang songs within the “Convention Style” genre of Southern Gospel music. This style usually features all four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) going in all sorts of counterpoint-style directions in a sort of folksy fugue. This, of course, ended in all of the parts coming back together at the end of the chorus before an elaborate piano turn-around led back into another verse. I really can’t remember the congregational singing that much. When I think back and try very hard to remember, I find it difficult to even recall singing from a hymnbook or otherwise as a congregation. The “talent” in the…

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Pasta Bowl Worship

26 05 2014

I love pasta. In fact, I love all sorts of pasta: linguine, fettuccini, penne, spaghetti, bow-tie, and even good old fashioned “elbow noodles.” I even really enjoy different types of sauces: marinara, alfredo, traditional, and many others (as long as they don’t contain big chucks of veggies!). And toppings too! Meatballs, grilled chicken, ground beef, (I’m still not sure about seafood…). But something I do not like, is pasta all by itself. It is the combination of pasta, sauce and meat that make it a meal– a great tasting meal.

I am concerned that too many of our worship services are like bowls of plain pasta, without the other ingredients. Now, it is true that pasta by itself is still food that will provide the human body with some needed nutrients. My wife and daughter sometimes have pasta with just a little butter and it is enough. But most of the time they also crave flavor, protein and vegetables (the last item I personally do not have much interest in!). But a bowl of unadorned pasta would be poor fare day in and day out. There are many millions around the world who subsist on rice as their daily diet. Maybe one or two times a year they get to top that rice with other things, but it is a rare treat. Does this diet keep them alive? Yes, it does. Are they able to thrive and flourish? Not so much. Without vitamins and nutrients that come from other varieties of food, those who have access to only rice have poor or fragile health.

Many millions of Christians subsist on weekly offerings of pasta bowl worship. There is singing, there is preaching, there is some prayer, but the “meat” and the “sauce” of Word and Table are meager, rare, and all too often, poorly prepared.

I have heard and read about Evangelical leaders who say something like, “Why do we need to have multiple Scripture readings and weekly Communion, when thousands flock to our churches, get saved, and have transformed lives without it?!” I accept this as a good point not lightly swept aside. Such is surely evidence of the power of the Cross and the Holy Spirit. It cannot be said that those who worship with “simple pasta” are somehow un-Christian or will fail to make it to heaven. Not even Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox make such a claim. I believe it is the difference between simple subsistence and a well-rounded diet.

I realize the analogy with the pasta and rice is not without flaws as I am employing it.* However, it helps me explain why I think the ancient worship pattern of weekly Word and Table is so very important even though millions of Christians seem to get along just fine without it. To me it is the difference between getting by, on the one hand, and really living, on the other. It is the difference between possessing a part verses embracing the whole.

I have also noticed that those churches who make little use of Word and Table, the “meat and sauce”, find other substitutes. Every local church and denomination that does not make the Word and Sacraments central in their worship, will fill that slot with other things. And those other things, in time, become central to those believers: emotion-laded songs (contemporary and traditional), scholarly or emotional preaching, ecstatic prayer experiences, missions (foreign & domestic), social and political issues, even doctrinal distinctives.

Let me be clear! There is great value in every item on that list, and not one is bad or sinful. Not one of them, however, is meant to be central. God is meant to be the focus and center of our worship. And when we keep Scripture and the Sacraments central we have a time tested means of keeping God, and all His saving works in Christ through the Holy Spirit, central. (By the way, “preaching” is not the same as keeping Scripture central, because preaching is human comment and explanation of Scripture. To make preaching central is to dance the near the precipice of idolatry. The same is very much true of music and singing in our services).

I am no fool (usually) and I’m not too terribly naïve. I am fully aware that Scripture and the Sacraments are, #1, not a fool-proof way to keep God central in our worship gatherings. There are some liturgical traditions that have so many layers of words and actions that Christ in His church is obscured. Fortunately, there has been a “clearing of the decks” in the last 50 years with much positive liturgical renewal. And #2, I am painfully aware that the Bible and Communion have been sources of idolatry at various times and places within church history. In other words, some have become so enraptured with the symbol (which truly does participate with Divine reality, by the way), that they no longer see the real thing the symbol is trying to point them to. (For the Bible, think sola scriptura, or King James only; for Communion think keeping the consecrated bread on reserve in little tabernacles, or when lay folk are discouraged from receiving the elements on a regular basis).

Throughout church history, again and again, Word and Table have rescued God’s people from heresy and self-centeredness. But for this to happen in our day, we desperately need to employ the following sorts of things (as quickly as it can be tolerated, as church-folk are lovingly taught their importance):

  • Multiple Scripture readings every Sunday. And preferably not just ones that fit the pastor’s agenda or desires. Additionally, it is not necessary to comment upon or explain every reading that is made on a given Sunday. However, some time of silence after each reading is in order. Even in liturgical churches, there is the annoying habit of rushing from one reading to the next without time for reflection and contemplation.
  • A much greater use of the Psalms as part of our prayer and praise time.
  • Shorter sermons that allow time for longer uses of Scripture (readings and Psalms), longer times of prayer, and a truly full-orbed celebration of the Lord’s Supper that is not rushed to fit it in before everyone is late for dinner or the ball game.
  • Weekly Communion services. I realize that for most in non-liturgical churches, this is unrealistic– there would be mass mutiny as people fled churches implementing this, only to find or establish congregations where their own preferences are kept in high regard. However, the least we can do to remain obedient to Scripture and faithful to the wise saints who have gone before us, is to offer a weekly Communion service that is separate from the “main” service. But I really do hope that ALL churches will quickly realize that the main service should be celebrating the Eucharist no less than monthly!
  • Communion services that emphasize the fullness of Christ’s accomplished work beyond His atoning death on the cross. Protestants and Evangelicals are inheritors of the, often despised, Medieval church more than they will ever admit. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the way Communion is carried out– from Baptist, to Presbyterian, to Methodist, to Charismatic, to Lutheran. Our Communion services, with rare exception, are somber and heavy, myopically focused on sin and the Cross and seeming to lack in Good News. This may be appropriate for a season like Lent, or on a day like Good Friday, but Christ did and is doing so much more! Jesus also healed, rejoiced in His Father’s love, rose again, ascended into heaven, and is with us to the end of the age. Our Communion services must do a much better job of reflecting the full reality of Christ and his works.

    Many in the Evangelical universe hope and pray for revival in our churches because so many are struggling and genuine conversions seem few and far between, while many believers live blatantly immoral lives. Just such a revival may come with the renewal of Word and Table in our Sunday services. As churched and un-churched are confronted with the fullness of God’s Word, and immersed in the saving acts of THE Word, Christ Jesus, week in and week out, revival (although quietly and largely unobserved) will come. It may not be the revival of our immediate forbears where the “altar” was lined with weeping, penitent sinners, or the raucous emotionalism of revival tent meetings; but rather the steady growth that takes place because the roots are spreading deep into nutrient rich soil and pure subterranean water-ways. It its season, such a revival will produce a crop thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. A revival of the ole’ fashioned kind burned hot and bright but quickly died away. The next revival must be slow and deep enough to transform, not only individual lives, but the whole culture as well.

    A diet of plain pasta worship, from generation to generation, has and will fail to make disciples of the sort Jesus has commanded us to go and make. I long for the day when Word and Table is renewed and loved across the land, across denominations. Lord Jesus hasten the day.

    *I do, however, like to make the analogy that the different types of sauces and toppings are like the different styles and expressions of Word & Table worship that organically grow out of the many different cultures and “tribes” of the world.

    The analysis of “worship style” by the late Robert Webber, in his last book, Ancient-Future Worship, is spot on:

    The style of doing Word and Table is a matter of making the content and structure of worship indigenous to the local setting. The greatest error I have seen in the style of worship–both traditional and contemporary–is to program it. Traditional worship strings together Scripture readings, prayers, psalms, choir, solo numbers, offering and announcements and then adds a sermon and benediction at the end. Usually there is little thought given to narrating God’s story and vision. On the other hand, most contemporary worship leaders think in terms of opening with thirty minutes of songs and choruses strung together, followed by a time for announcements and offering, followed by the sermon (not generally regarded as worship). The sermon is usually topical, often supplemented with a few Bible stories, but seldom about the Good News that God has won a decisive victory over the powers of evil and will eventually set up his kingdom forever. Consider what is happening in our world today with militant terrorists who wish to cast Israel into the sea and scale the wall of the Western world and bring it to ruin. What is more relevant: a therapeutic sermon that makes you feel good about yourself, or a sermon that speaks to who narrates the world? (pg. 78)

Things Are Not What They Seem, part two

24 05 2014

Things are rarely what they seem. Step one of entering into the fullness of a genuinely Biblical and Apostolic Christian faith begins by affirming that reality encompasses a good deal more than our five senses can tell us. However, a single step does not constitute a journey.

To reclaim the fullness of the Christian faith, we will, with Hans Boersma, have to do some historical study, while making use of the disciplines of philosophy and theology. So, it’s time to get in touch with your inner theology nerd, and reclaim the treasure that is ours in Christ as His Church.

To summarize the work Boersma is doing in Heavenly Participation:

The Patristic age (roughly the 1st century to the 5th century), operating out of a Platonist-Christian world-view, saw the entire created order as having an organic, dynamic and real participation in the other-worldly, heavenly reality of the Trinity. This was supremely experienced in the Eucharist.

In the later Middle-Ages (roughly from the 12th century to the 16th century), with the rise of an Aristotelian hegemony expressed especially in a Scholastic world-view, the “natural” slowly began to be seen as something that could stand alone without participation or support from the mysterious other-world. Heaven was “up there”, and even though God was a benevolent sovereign He also resided separately “up there” in heaven, quite removed from our “natural” lives. The exception to this was the medieval belief in the literal presence of Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Mass. But even this was largely the restricted province of priests and monastics, since the average lay person rarely went forward to receive the elements . Participating in the life of God was the rare experience of the “mystics”, rather than the experience of the ecclesia as a whole.

“The once-sacred cosmos, in which the world of nature had been suffused with supernatural presence, started to make room for a naturalized world, in which the sacramental, divine character of authority slowly disappeared from view.” (pg. 56 – “Exitus: The Fraying of the Tapestry”)

In the Enlightenment, and its natural child, Modernity, the unraveling begun with Scholasticism, proves to be too slow a process. The natural and the supernatural quickly became compartmentalized and hermetically sealed, so that commerce between them became a trickle and then stopped altogether. Whereas, the Middle Ages gently pulled the threads of the tapestry with two fingers, Modernity used sharp instruments to sever all the remaining threads at once. God became the “man upstairs”– but the stairs are in dire disrepair and impassable, making access to Him a forgotten dream. We have Mother Earth, but no Creator to thank for the sunset over the bay. The bread and wine (grape juice) remind us of God’s love in Christ, but cannot offer the communicant an audience with the One being remembered and worshipped. We have Christian self-help books and counseling principles to apply to our dysfunctions, but no Savior who can reach into our lives and bind up our broken hearts, or heal our diseased emotions and thoughts.

The modern efforts to “de-mystify” the Faith have been devastatingly successful in the same way a wild fire burns though a drought-plagued wood. We live now in the ashes, awaiting the hopeful sign of a sprout of leafy green to arise from the grayness of a world where the color of the supernatural is nearly forgotten. The tales of a living, loving God infusing His very life into us and our world are the fairy tales we tell to children, but which, as adults we have set aside as pure fiction. Heaven and earth are utterly separated– and surely, our society now declares, there never was a “heaven” to begin with.

But somewhere, in a dank, dark church basement, there is a beautifully woven tapestry– consisting of the threads of both heaven and earth–awaiting the light of day to be revealed to Jesus’ disciples once more. For this to happen, however, much of the “modern” church structure above the tapestry’s storeroom will need to experience a “demo” day (which is long overdue given its disuse and decay!!). Only then can beams of light make their way below. And the new structure will need to be rebuilt only after careful attention has been given to the story told on the tapestry– a story of heavenly participation here on earth. It tells the story of a God who lives not above us, but with us– or more properly, we with Him.

As Hans Boersma puts it, “I am convinced that postmodernism is simply the outcome of modernity, both of them predicated on a desacramentalized universe; and I believe that the solutions to our problems hardly lie in evangelical accommodations to contemporary cultural trends. Instead, as Protestants, we need to relearn to see the world with sacramental eyes.” (pg. 99)

Unfortunately, I see too many Evangelicals, who, in the actual work of ministry and worship, are running hard to make “customers” comfortable– to make the church look as much as possible like the rest of the culture– save with a little Gospel lingo added to be able to call it “church” and “Christian.” All the while missing the fact that the people in the culture around us are longing for the God “upstairs” to break through the ceiling and enter our lives–to eat at our tables, to recline with us on our couches, to heal our broken hearts and straighten our bent minds.

I seem to remember Jesus had a penchant for entering the homes of sinners (both tax collectors and religious leaders) and injecting heavenly realities into them. What if he’s knocking at our church doors even now, and we’re ignoring him? How long can we ignore Him before he moves on to the next closed door? The sacraments are a way (perhaps the way) to answer that knock. It’s time for Evangelicals to realize that Baptism and Communion are more than an extended sermon illustration. It’s time to realize we walk heaven’s streets even as we stride forward to the Communion table– bread and wine, body and blood, heaven on earth. Things are not what they always seem….

Being Anti-Liturgical

23 05 2014

From Peter J. Leithart, at the FIRST THINGS blog.  Succinct and true.

One of the central insights of Jeff Meyers’ book The Lord’s Service is that the liturgy is pre-eminently God’s service to us rather than our service to Him. When we gather each week as His people and bride, He draws near to declare forgiveness, to speak His live-giving Word, to invite us to His table where He gives His Son in the power of the Spirit. Word and Sacrament are the heart of liturgy because these are the ways God gives Himself to us – in speech and in food.

Even our actions in the liturgy – our confession, our praise and thanks, our intercession – are caught up by the Spirit into the work of our great High Priest, as we do everything we do in His Name, giving thanks to the Father through Him.

Liturgy is the heart of pastoral care. And like all other forms of pastoral care, the liturgy is the action of Jesus the Pastor, the Good Shepherd of the flock.

Evangelicals often worry that we might become “too liturgical,” as if the liturgy might inhibit the church’s ministry and mission. If the liturgy is Christ’s Word and Food given to us, and His work before the Father for us, though, there cannot be any such thing as “too much” liturgy. The real danger is not liturgy but our faithless attempts to improve on God’s gifts, our impatience with the slow, unspectacular labor of Word and Sacrament.

And that danger also exists in “liturgical churches.” Those who think the church needs no liturgy are obviously anti-liturgical; but churches that crowd the liturgy are also anti-liturgical because they also divert the liturgy away from those places where the Spirit has promised to be active – in the Word and at the Table.

Things Are Not What They Seem

17 05 2014


Call me a hopeless romantic. I love fairy tales, super heroes, wizards, and knights with inhuman courage. And there seems to be a boy inside me always looking for the wardrobe– a portal to another reality that is somehow intertwined with the seemingly mundane one that I inhabit.

I remember, vaguely, when it all started. I was five, playing super heroes with my cousin. The liturgy for this is pretty standard. When your opponent displays a power that trumps your power, you “upgrade” to another, more powerful, hero. Superman trumps Batman, etc. At one point in our play-acting my cousin declared himself Superman. No one can beat Superman. Well, I couldn’t let it end there, so I put on my cape AND my cowboy boots and became. . . Super Cowboy! Who, conveniently, possessed the super-powers of ALL the super heroes combined.

I think we all, deep inside the child within each of us, hope and believe that the onion of reality can be peeled back until the ultimate– love, strength, courage, beauty, and skill is revealed– in us! In me, and in you.

Now, stay with me, there is some serious theology at play here (and “play” is the right word).

Fast-forward to when I turned 12 or 13. I learned that those with super powers were real: angels and demons. And we were all engaged in battle with and against them. And in youth group, I saw strong evidence of this hidden reality. And when I prayed I could see the battle between the Light of Christ and the Darkness of the Adversary. In the keen imagination that was still alive at that tender age, as God’s people prayed and praised, I could see heaven’s hidden doors crack open. And that crack was enough to flood our sanctuary with uncreated, all-pervasive light. I knew, simultaneously, I had been brought into something so, so much bigger than me, which also gave me a unique and irreplaceable part to play in the struggle to push back the Dark Lord and his minions.

Over the next few years that clarity faded– all too soon. Other things took precedence, like grades, girls, and getting my driver’s license. I became myopically focused on the visible world.

In college I was given the great gift of rational, empirical thinking. My faith was greatly bolstered and set in stone in my fertile, hungry intellect. But, unbeknown to me, my imagination, my heart, was sorely underfed and began to make some noise to regain my attention. I entered Seminary in the midst of a faith crisis– what was the point of church and prayer?! I already had all the knowledge that really mattered! Then I sat down in Don Boyd’s worship course and discovered a powerful mystery: the sacraments. As it turned out the angels had returned to my world (as if they had ever left!) as fellow worshippers who were present at every sacred gathering of believers. But, like the cheesy, bombastic infomercial, there was more–much more. Jesus himself was present, giving away his very self and life through silly little things like bits of bread and Welch’s grape juice. And as He gave, and we received, we became united to Him and to each other. The church was re-born at every communion service. The church: a sacred fellowship of warriors following their Captain into the fray for the pure joy and love of Him and His Kingdom. (For you Middle-earth geeks, it’s like the Guard of the Tower, Beregond, breaking man-made rules for the love of his captain, Faramir– whose life he rescues in the process).

Super-heroes, saints and angels, had re-entered my story, my imagination. And as I became a pastor this truth– that the supernatural is always impinging and penetrating our hermetically sealed (so we think!) natural order. Things are almost never what they seem! And, oh the mistakes I’ve made, and continue to make, because I do not take that aphorism seriously. And how I wish more Evangelicals, those intrepid inheritors of the late Middle-Ages AND the Enlightenment, would awaken from their slumber induced by naturalism and materialism! Far too many of us who believe the right things about Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior, have insisted that He leave His superpowers at the door as He enters the church! Miracles, angels, demons, transformed Bread and Wine– these are fairy tales and we are all grown up now with our exegetical tools, and church growth strategies. Only the emotional Pentecostals and archaic Catholics still follow such outmoded methods of doing ministry. We know better, however.

I grant that such sentiments (theologies?) are rarely expressed so directly. And most Evangelicals would vehemently deny being anti-supernatural. But our actions, the way we behave and the things we don’t do as Christians betray our true beliefs. Fortunately, the tide is turning. Younger Evangelicals are recapturing their imaginations, and the faith of the Apostles and Fathers.

Hans Boersma in his book, Heavenly Participation, labors to help Evangelicals reclaim the ancient faith and a truly Biblical imagination: A way of thinking, feeling and living where we see that there truly is an intricate and real connection with the heavenly, spiritual universe.

And I will have more to say about this soon…

Serve Hymn by Andrew Peterson

26 02 2014

High this mountain, broad this sea

Still my sin ran deeper

Grave offense my soul did wreak

Against creation’s Keeper

But see what power so fell and fair

Has stayed His holy justice

God Himself all Hell did bear

How great His love for us is

So serve Him, O serve Him

He who brings the morning

O serve Him, Only serve Him

He who brings the morning

Ev’ry hour is a precious boon

Ev’ry breath is a mercy

Ev’ry glimpse of yonder moon

A balm upon this journey

How vast the heavens above this place

So small beneath His glory

Still He stooped and showed His face

And poured His mercy o’er me

Jesus, our Messiah King

For those who don’t deserve Him

Conquered death all life to bring

So seek His face and serve Him

O serve Him

Sing, O sing

Praise His name forever

Oh, praise Him

Oh, praise Him

Praise His name forever

–words & music by Andrew Peterson, on the album “Love & Thunder”