"God of grace and God of glory, on Your people pour Your pow'r; Crown Your ancient Church's story; bring its bud to glorious flow'r. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour, For the facing of this hour.
"Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; Let the gift of Your salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving You whom we adore, Serving You whom we adore."
On September 3, 1939, King George VI of the United Kingdom began his first speech of World War II with the words, "In this grave hour ...." Our hymn reminds us that we who trust in Christ Jesus are facing a grave hour of warfare, but it is not a fight against flesh-and-blood enemies. We stand "against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12b). This is the hour the church has faced from the beginning, when the ancient serpent of Eden first sought to destroy the work of God.
We are armed for the fight, dressed in the righteousness that Jesus won for us and with the truth we believe and confess. Faith is our shield and salvation our helmet. Our sword is the Word of God, that is, our weapon in this war is a story.
We pray that God would bring His "ancient Church's story" to glorious flower. Our unusual weapon is a story that grows, in the power of the Holy Spirit, from seed to bud to flower in the hearts, minds, and lives of those who hear and believe. The story is no myth or fabricated legend. It is an eyewitness account of events. It is the history of God's unfolding plan of salvation, and the full revelation of that plan in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Our weapon in this hour is the word of the cross, the good news that Jesus laid down His life as the sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose from the dead on the first Easter morning.
In the eyes of the world, the "ancient Church's story" is just so much foolishness. Many people think of it as a make-believe tale or simply one of many competing narratives. We know otherwise. This Good News, this Gospel story of Jesus crucified and risen from the dead, has embedded within it the power and promise of God. It is a story that delivers what it promises—the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It is the Good News that is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16b).
We pray for wisdom and courage as we face this hour, yet even as the fight continues, we know that our Lord has already overcome every enemy—sin, death, Satan, and all of this world's evil. In this fight the victory is already ours: "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
THE PRAYER: God of glory, give me wisdom and courage to be a bold witness for my Savior. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "God of Grace and God of Glory," which is number 850 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. How does secular culture impact the growth and development of Christian churches?
2. Do you have a favorite era or period of Christian church history? What is it and why?
3. What is it about your church you most like to share with others?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"