Communion - Reflecting on 1 Corinthians 11


Communion

I wrote this for those who help to distribute communion to those who are sick or housebound, but I realize this will also be a helpful reflection for all who partake in communion.
When people are sick or housebound they are unwillingly absent from the communion table.  On such occasions the Communion Stewards will offer to take the consecrated communion to them during the week following the service of Communion on Sunday.

Reflection

Paul offers stern words for the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and makes several important points:

 1 Corinthians 11:17-22

17 Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it. 19 Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine. 20 When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. 22 What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

Context

At the time of Paul’s writing the communion was combined with a love feast.  It was obviously more than the sip of wine and piece of bread which we enjoy today.  The beauty of this meal was that the hungry would be fed; Jesus action of blessing and multiplying the loaves and the fish would be celebrated with every great communion feast.  But, divisions emerged the rich didn’t seem to want to wait for the poor ‘one goes hungry and another becomes drunk.’ (Verse 21).  Communion was a time for unity; yet the communion itself fostered division in the church.

The importance of Unity

It is for this reason that we are ordered in our communion.  When we become members of the church we are in fellowship (koinonia) with the church.  As members of a church we recognize the authority of ordained clergy to preside over the communion table for the sake of our unity.  This unity is not just the unity of our local church, but the unity of the church all over the world and across denominations.  Ministers are trained and ordained as ministers of Word and Sacrament in order to ensure the unity and orthodoxy of the church’s message and practice.
If you are not a member of any church then you might as well serve yourself communion.  If you are not a member of any church then you might as well baptize yourself.  But when you do these things you are separating yourself from a larger community gathered at one table.  As church members we submit ourselves to this discipline as we submit ourselves to Christ.  We believe Jesus wants the church to be one, we believe the table should be one, and we acknowledge in keeping with the tradition of the church and the scriptures that God, through the Holy Spirit calls people to lead and hold authority in such a way as to maintain the order and unity of the community.
Within the local Methodist Church this unity is maintained by participation in a circuit of churches deliberately located in a variety of socio-economic areas that ensure that the same minister who presides at the table in a wealthy suburb can preside at the table in an impoverished settlement and act prophetically in the interest of unity and table fellowship.  The church communion table is symbolically linked to the Temple table for the Bread of the Presence (Exodus 25:23 & Exodus 37:10-16.)
It is important to stress the symbolic unity of the church and the significance of table fellowship when taking communion to people at home.  It is also important to make every effort to bring people to church rather than take communion to them at home; but frailty and logistics mean that we should practice the maximum amount of grace in our administration.

Love Offering

At the end of each Communion Service we usually take up an offering for the love fund of the church.  This excerpt from the writings of Justin Martyr describes Sunday Worship around AD90 includes a description of what deacons do, which is effectively the task of Communion Stewards in the Methodist Church today:
[1] On the day which is called Sunday, all who live in the cities or in the countryside gather together in one place. [2] And the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as there is time. [3] Then, when the reader has finished, the president, in a discourse, admonishes and invites the people to practice these examples of virtue. [4] Then we all stand up together and offer prayers. [5] And, as we mentioned before, when we have finished the prayer, bread is presented, and wine with water; [6] the president likewise offers up prayers and thanksgivings according to his ability, and the people assent by saying, Amen. [7] The elements which have been “eucharistized” are distributed and received by each one; and they are sent to the absent by the deacons. Those who are prosperous, if they wish, contribute what each one deems appropriate; and the collection is deposited with the president; and he takes care of the orphans and widows, and those who are needy because of sickness or other cause, and the captives, and the strangers who sojourn amongst us—in brief, he is the curate of all who are in need.
(“Saint Justin Martyr: First Apology”, 90, chap. Weekly Worship of the Christians)

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
(Mt 26:26–29; Mk 14:22–25; Lk 22:14–23)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Institution

It is fascinating to follow the debate through the ages over what made the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ.  It seems that the earliest church was quite satisfied with understanding it to be symbolic.  It was Paschius Radbertus in around the 8th century who first articulated a doctrine of transubstantiation[1].  At the reformation Luther proposed an alternative theology, consubstantiation[2].  Modern understanding is more comfortable with the earlier more symbolic understanding:
1.23     The crucified and risen Christ is present in the Holy Communion in accordance with His promise in the word of Scripture, in the community of the faithful and in the elements of bread and wine. These are the body and blood of Christ not in the sense that they cease to be bread and wine but in that they receive a new meaning as representing the person of Christ who has given Himself on the Cross and now meets with His people. His presence depends upon His own promise; it is discerned and appropriated by the faith of His people.
(Methodist Church of Southern Africa, 2016, para. 1.23)
However we approach this sacrament we respond in faith to Jesus words when he says:
This is my body that is for you. – Verse 24
This cup is the new covenant in my blood. – Verse 25a
Jesus then gives the command, which Paul is passing on again to the church:
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. – Verse 25b
Jesus seems to be instructing the church to do what he did.  Give thanks and break the bread; repeat his words.  Lift the cup and repeat his words.  In so doing, Paul says “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The earliest communion was linked to the celebration of Passover.  The bread and the wine spoken of as flesh and blood would remind the participants of the lamb that was slaughtered on the eve of the exodus, of the blood that was painted on door ways.  Of God’s power in delivering the people.  But the supper is transposed into the time of Jesus.  A reminder of how Jesus was slain for us.  A reminder of how we are saved by this action.
Communion thus comes to mean so much more than just bread and wine.  It is about so much more than just whether this bread is the body and this wine is the blood.  It becomes about knowing Christ died for us.  And his death offers us life.  When we ingest the bread and the wine we partake in his body and blood.  We are inextricably connected.
According to Matthew, Jesus words are a little different; he says: “Poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). Paul’s words are closer to Luke’s record of the last supper.  Poured out for many reminds us that Jesus is the host at the table and it is up to Jesus to choose who he invites.  Who are we to turn anyone away?

1 Corinthians 11:27-34

Partaking of the Supper Unworthily
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. 30 For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.

Unworthy Manner 27-28

Paul has already described what this ‘unworthy manner’ describes.  It describes greed and division, insufficient attention to care and love and justice.  He uses a strange turn of phrase:  “answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.”
A reminder that our greed at this table is unacceptable.  The ESV Study Bible offers this comment:
11:27 Unworthy manner probably refers to the incompatibility of the Corinthians’ divisive arrogance as compared to the sacrificial, others-oriented nature of Jesus’ death. A broader application of this principle would encourage believers to examine their own lives (see v. 28) and to repent and ask forgiveness for any unconfessed sin before partaking in the Lord’s Supper. guilty concerning the body and blood. Jesus’ body was broken and his blood shed for others. Thus the selfish behavior of the Corinthians is a sin against others, but it also represents a profaning disrespect for Jesus himself.
(Crossway, 2008: 1 Cor 11:27)
Togetherness is essential to communion.  As we take communion it is important to ask ourselves if we have treated others in a way that makes us unworthy of the meal.  It is a reminder, if celebrated weekly or monthly to live in a way that honours the presence of the body of Christ in us.  Converted to energy that gives us the power to live.  Not by bread alone but sustained by Christ’s love and power within us.
The solution Paul offers: “Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink the cup.” (28)
We should follow the Psalmists advice –
19:12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
14     Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you..

Ps 139:23         Search me, O God,
and know my heart
test me and know my thoughts.
24     See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Paul offers us more comfort:  “But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.”  In this, Paul seems to agree with 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When we take communion we should begin with heartfelt confession and self examination.

Drinking Judgment on Themselves 29-30

Paul’s words here are quite harsh.  He attaches sickness, illness and even death to those who have not partaken of the meal in a worthy manner.  Without ‘discerning the body’.  This ‘discerning the body’ has a double meaning.
First:  Recognizing in faith that this bread and wine is truly Christ’s flesh and blood in a deeply real symbolic sense.  It reminds us of salvation, Christ’s service love and our dedication to that some way of love in life.
Second:  Recognizing, as further raised in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that the gathering of the church is the body of Christ.  To eat without really ‘seeing’ the body of Christ around us is to curse ourselves.
There are some practical ways in which this kind of behavior could lead to our illness and death.  The first is that by disregarding the body we lose out on the help and healing they might have to offer.  In the next chapter Paul will remind the church that some have the gift of healing.  The Holy Spirit allots these gifts to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses (1 Cor 12:11).  When we miss out on the whole body we miss out on the healing and health that Christ has to offer us.
Healthy participation of the whole body in the whole body of the people of Jesus is a holistically healing and renewing act.  James also reminds those who are sick to ask for help:
14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
- James 5:14-15

First James insists that those who are sick should reach out to the ‘elders’ or responsible leaders in the church.  Many who are sick don’t let anyone know but become irate when they weren’t visited.  When the elders come they will ‘anoint with oil in the name of the Lord’.  In the time of the early church oils and infusions were used as medicines.  Community connection facilitated effective healing.

1 Corinthians 11:33-34

Paul closes with a lesson in basic table manners.  A lesson we could all learn.  And he promises, before he moves on to chapter 12 and 13 where he will emphasise the Spirit giftedness of every believer and the supreme gift of love, that he will give them further instruction the next time he sees them.
Sometimes.  As you go and visit the sick.  As you share communion; you won’t know exactly what to do – and Paul knows that he is leaving the community with some instructions and the capacity also to figure things out as they go.  Figuring it out as you go is a part of the gift that the Holy Spirit has given you in guiding you in your ministry as a disciple of Jesus.

Bibliography

Crossway, E.B. by. 2008. ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway.
Methodist Church of Southern Africa. 2016. The Methodist book of order: the laws and discipline of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
Saint Justin Martyr: First Apology. 90. [Online], Available: http://earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-firstapology.html [2018, June 05].


[1] transubstantiation. The theory of the Eucharist officially taught by the Roman Catholic Church. According to this view, during Communion the substance or essence of the bread and wine is miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Christ, even though the “accidents” (outward appearances) of the bread and wine remain the same.
[2] consubstantiation. The theory of the Lord’s Supper most closely associated with the Lutheran tradition. Martin Luther taught that the body and blood of the Lord is present “in, with and under” the actual bread and wine. This was in contrast to the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation, which taught that the bread and wine were transformed into the real body and blood of Jesus upon their consecration by the presiding priest.

“Consider it, take counsel and speak out.”


This is among the worst passages of the Bible… Even Dexter would cringe...

Judges 19:22 While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, a perverse lot, surrounded the house, and started pounding on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house, "Bring out the man who came into your house, so that we may have intercourse with him." 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, "No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Since this man is my guest, do not do this vile thing. 24 Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do whatever you want to them; but against this man do not do such a vile thing." 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them. They wantonly raped her, and abused her all through the night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 As morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light. 
27 In the morning her master got up, opened the doors of the house, and when he went out to go on his way, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 "Get up," he said to her, "we are going." But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey; and the man set out for his home. 29 When he had entered his house, he took a knife, and grasping his concubine he cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 Then he commanded the men whom he sent, saying, "Thus shall you say to all the Israelites, 'Has such a thing ever happened since the day that the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this day? Consider it, take counsel, and speak out.' "

I really hate this passage.  
I don't want to read it. I want to cut it out and burn it. If I got to edit the Bible this is something I would like to leave out.

But it is there.

There are so many things to discuss in this passage but the part that comes to mind is verses 29 and 30.

Over the past few years the world has become more aware of the evil that we do. Chemical warfare in Syria, sexual abuse throughout the world, slavery, racism, evil and injustice. In South Africa the 'Rainbow' nation is rising up to say that you can't just paint a giant rainbow over our problems.

We need to face the reality of our problems.

This is the emotion that Judges 19:29-30 brings to mind.

After the concubine has been raped to death - the Levite cuts her body into pieces and posts pieces to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

This is not a parcel that anyone would want to receive. Some severed and bloody body part.

This gruesome act highlights the plight of all the victims of injustice and violence.

With the message:

"Has such a thing ever happened…. Consider it, take counsel, and speak out."

I want to ignore the horrors, the rapes, the injustice, the hopelessness of the children of our land. I want to ignore the things that ministry brings me into contact with.

But we need to be confronted by the gruesome reality of what is happening.

Consider it, take counsel, and speak out.

My reaction to the news of brokenness and injustice - the suffering of God's people is often similar to the reaction that I'd have if I got a parcel with a severed limb in it. I'd be shocked, disgusted, traumatized but I'd quickly drop it and get the necessary therapy to help me forget.

But what about the response the Levit counsels:

"Consider it, take counsel and speak out."

Psalm 72 - a Prayer for our Leaders

South Africa waited for the ANC to make a decision at the national conference last weekend.  The contest was between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa.  Ramaphosa won by a hair's breadth.  As I was reading Psalm 72 in preparation for Christmas season preaching I thought it was a fitting word of prayer for anyone in power.  So here is my reflection from my prayers this morning.  In the form of an open letter to the president.
Dear ANC President Ramaphosa,
This is my prayer for you, a reflection on Psalm 72 a song sung when Kings were crowned in the time before Christ.  Some of the verses of Psalm 72 are good words for a President in our time.  The prayer of verse 1:
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.
The Psalmist prays that the king would want the sort of justice that God wants.  The kind of righteousness that God wants.  The God of the Hebrews, the God of Christians is a God whose primary characteristic is to lead people out of slavery and into freedom.  To lead the people into ‘Shalom’, into peace.  This peace is not platitude, but real peace - born out of justice and righteousness.  Sometimes the word ‘shalom’ is translated as ‘prosperity’. South Africa needs to be led into justice with grace and peace.  This is the will of God.  
This is a difficult direction to lead in, inequality in our land is positively mountainous - but my prayer is that you will be ‘endowed’ with justice and righteousness; the heart of the love of God for all of God’s people.  So that you will be able to lead us all into ‘prosperity.’  Prosperity is not having an overly big house and stupidly powerful cars and more than enough money.  Prosperity is having your daily bread, security, the leisure to rest, the freedom to live a dignified life and to share with others.
This prosperity - this Shalom - is the product of justice and righteousness.
2 He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.
As the Psalmist leads us in prayer for the King it is interesting that he speaks to God in this way - he could say: “He will judge ‘his’ people…”  But instead the Psalmist says: “He will judge your people…”  All people everywhere are created in God’s image.  All people are sacred, wonderful, fearfully made.  If the King is endowed with God’s justice, then the King will lead God’s people in God’s way.  
The Psalmist realises God’s special concern for the afflicted ones.  Those who live in dire poverty, those who are sick, those who are mentally ill… all of these people are God’s people.  It will be your task to lead us into justice; especially for the weakest, the most downtrodden, the most easily abused.  The poor, the elderly, the mentally ill and the orphan are the most neglected in our land - with God’s heart, lead them (and all of us) with justice.  
It is the King’s task to ‘judge’ God’s people.  To judge is to see what is wrong and implement a process that will redress those wrongs.  As the King judges - the King restores justice.  I pray that you will have the courage to lead South Africa into justice.  
3 The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness.
Sadly the mountains of our land, especially the highveld mountains with their rich deposits of ore have been pillaged.  The wealth did not bring prosperity to the people - instead they brought slavery to some and an overabundance of wealth to others; much of that prosperity has left our shores.  But, there is still enough in our land to ensure that each and every citizen has what they need.  The nations of the world recognize the wealth of Africa; they take advantage of our economic and social tensions to drive us into debt - Africa has enough; Africa has more than all the other nations of the world.  Yet our people live in dire poverty.
It seems that the promise of verse 3 is dependent on the realisation of verses 1 and 2 - the need for justice; especially for the afflicted.  The hills, says the Psalmist will yield the ‘fruit of righteousness’ - these ‘fruits of righteousness’ refer to character - fruit of the Holy Spirit according to Christians: generosity, gentleness, kindness, joy, peace, self control, patience, peacefulness etc. But they are also literal fruits to feed the hungry.
How economists manage the circumstances that lead to the most beneficial extraction of minerals and production of food is such a complicated matter that I don’t fully understand how it all works.  The tensions of mine ownership, land ownership and risk / benefit / cost are for economists to debate.  But I know that if we find the right balance we will be able to create an economy in which there is economic security for all people.
4 - He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.
Someone has said that a truly just society is one where anyone would be happy to be born to any family, race, or place because every child would always have all the opportunities they need to determine their own future.  This is not the case in South Africa.  Children are the victims of our unjust past; especially in terms of the education that they are destined to receive.  A good King ‘saves the children of the needy’ - sets up a decent future for these children.  To save our children we need to make sure that no matter where you were born you will have the resources and the help needed to become who you were meant to be.
Free education for all depends on a healthy economy and a healthy economy depends on good quality education for all.  This is the nuclear power plant that we need.  And the true beginning of radical (roots based) economic transformation.  Solid investment in education.  Especially in education for those who are born into the most dire situations of poverty.
The second part of verse 4 - ‘he will crush the oppressor’ is also a tough one.  Who is the oppressor that needs crushing?  The problem of politics in South Africa is a lack of debate which stems from identifying everyone other than us as the ‘oppressor’.  People are more united by what they are against, than by what they are for.  Bell Pottinger recognised that you could justify a lot of bad decisions by identifying an enemy named White Minority Capital and then inciting anger and violence against this ‘oppressor’ as a rallying cause to protect people who were corrupt and engaged in oppressive activities themselves.
Perhaps the best way to ‘crush’ oppressors is to name them honestly.  To educate and inform each other about how our attitudes become tools of oppression.  To liberate oppressors from being oppressors by showing them - and leading them - into a better way.  
Instead of creating a world where we each try to out oppress each other - through honest engagement perhaps we can reach a place where oppression is identified and rooted out - and thus crushed in a way that does not lead to more oppression.  This will take bold leadership - and sometimes will lead to uncomfortable conversations.  But we need you to lead us and inspire us into this direction.
5-7 He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.  He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.  In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.
At this point the Psalmist starts to point towards a more Divine King (God) than an earthly one.  But this is the hope of the people - that truly anointed kings.  Kings endowed with God’s justice and righteousness as verse 1 prayed - will rule with God’s heart.  It is not the person in power, but in terms of the Psalm, God’s Holy Spirit endowing the King with Godly wisdom that is in power.
As we read the Old Testament we discover only a few good kings.  Power has a tendency to make even the best kings go bad.  See Saul, David, Solomon all the Kings of Israel.  They get it right sometimes but only when they place their heads hands and hearts firmly into the head, hand and heart of God who guides them.  Psalm 146:3 reminds us:
“You can’t depend on anyone, not even a great leader.  Once they die and are buried, that will be the end of all their plans.”
- Psalm 146:3
Even great leaders will die.  The majority of religions believe that each of us will have to answer to the creator for the decisions we made in our life times.  As a president - the decisions you make will have a lot more consequence than most people’s decisions.  And so I pray that you would have the integrity to lead us into justice with grace.
8-11  His kingdom will reach from sea to sea, from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.  The peoples of the desert will bow down before him; his enemies will throw themselves to the ground.  The kings of Spain and of the islands will offer him gifts; the kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him offerings.  All kings will bow down before him; all nations will serve him.
Again - the Psalmist is praising a Divine King.  At Christmas time we are reminded of the sages who came to lay their gifts at Jesus’ feet.  A fulfillment of these words about Godly Kings.  For a while the world looked to South Africa as a model of reconciliation and restoration.  The most powerful rulers looked to us for advice and help in matters of diplomacy.  Do the difficult task of leading us into justice - and the world will look to us.  We will see foreign investment, we will wield influence without using force and violence.  South African can show the world a better way.
12-14 He rescues the poor who call to him, and those who are needy and neglected.  He has pity on the weak and poor; he saves the lives of those in need.  He rescues them from oppression and violence; their lives are precious to him.
The Psalmist keeps coming back to this theme.  It is almost the primary task of the King to see that the poor, needy, weak, neglected, oppressed and violated are rescued.  One area in which we need to see real radical transformation is in the cause of justice for the poorest and weakest.  In the Western Cape we see too few police in the poorest areas and lots in the richest.  It is this kind of distribution of resources that reveals our priorities.  Crime in the suburbs and against the rich seems to garner all of the media’s attention.  But what about the poor?  
As a person in power it might be tempting to see the rich investors as your most precious citizens.  But a godly King will lead those rich investors in such a way that the poor, needy, weak, neglected, violated and oppressed are rescued.  Because all people are precious to God.
15-17 Long live the king!  May he be given gold from Sheba; may prayers be said for him at all times; may God’s blessings be on him always!  May there be plenty of corn in the land; may the hills be covered with crops, as fruitful as those of Lebanon.  May the cities be filled with people, like fields full of grass.  May the king’s name never be forgotten; may his fame last as long as the sun.  May all nations ask God to bless them as he has blessed the king.
With South Africa’s divided politics whoever is in power is guaranteed to have a lot of enemies.  You became president of the ANC with a very narrow margin of victory.  It looks like the next national elections will further erode the ANC’s power.  This is not always a bad thing.  Democratically elected officials need to remember that they in some way also represent the people who didn’t vote for them.
As citizens we have a responsibility to pray for good leaders.  To support them with our prayers, deeds and taxes.  Even if we didn’t vote for them.
18-20 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel!  He alone does these wonderful things.  Praise his glorious name for ever!  May his glory fill the whole world.
Amen! Amen!
This is the end of the prayers of David son of Jesse.
As the Psalm draws to a conclusion - David points firmly in God’s direction.  It is only in God’s power that a leader can lead in God’s way.  And so we pray that a new leader would lead in such a way that God’s glory would fill the whole world.
In the final verse, we read the comment: “This is the end of the prayers of David…”  As David writes this prayer we know that he doesn’t pray for himself; but rather for his son, Solomon, and for the legacy of Kings that will follow.
Your time of leadership will come to an end, just as David’s did.  You might not achieve all the goals you set out to achieve - but - when the time comes; hand over gracefully - with a prayer that bestows as much blessing and hope as this one does.
God bless, strengthen, guide you, and endow you with justice and righteousness to lead this nation into justice with grace and peace.
This is my prayer for those who lead our nation at this time.
God bless,
Rev Angus Kelly