READ: 1 Corinthians 16

BACKGROUND: Paul closes his first letter to the Corinthians by talking about the offering he is collecting for the poor and needy believers in Jerusalem and by outlining his future travel plans, among other things. But the thing that jumps off the page to me as I read this chapter is the very end where Paul says that those who don’t know and love the Lord are cursed and blesses the believers. But in verse 22 he says, “Come Lord Jesus!” This is a rendering of an Aramaic phrase, maranatha, that the early church used as a sort of catchphrase of hope and excited expectancy about the return of Jesus. It was a genuine and deeply heartfelt prayer for them: come Lord Jesus! Maranatha!

I think that the further removed we get from the life, death, and ascension of Jesus – and we’re pushing 2 millennia – we become tempted to live without that passionate expectation of Christ’s return. But we need to remember as we look out at this broken world and experience the hurt and pain and frustration that are part and parcel of living in it that this messed up world isn’t all there is. We were made for something more. Something better than death and broken relationships and loss and sickness and disease and war and famine and abuse and addiction and starvation and….the list goes on and on. But here’s the cool part: Jesus is coming back to set things right and make all things new – and then we will live eternally in the kind of perfect relationship with God and with one another that we were created for. In a word, that’s awesome! So let’s pray expectantly and excitedly, as the early church did, “Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus!”

PRAY: Take some time and pray the following compline (nighttime prayer – though you can pray it any time throughout the day).

Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations
into the peace of your kingdom:
Lord, have mercy.

You come in word and sacrament
to strengthen us in holiness:
Christ, have mercy.

You will come in glory
with salvation for your people:
Lord, have mercy.

Turn to us again, O God our Saviour,
and let your anger cease from us.
Lord, have mercy.

Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation:
Christ, have mercy.

Your salvation is near for those that fear you,
that glory may dwell in our land:
Lord, have mercy.

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid
we pray to Jesus, saying,
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and Judge.
Help us to live in the light of your coming
and give us a longing for your rule.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations.
Before you rulers will stand in silence.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your people with a message of victory and peace.
Give us the victory over death, temptation and evil.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as Saviour and Comforter.
Break in to those areas of our lives
where we live with failure and distress,
and set us free to serve you for ever.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us from heaven with power and great glory,
to lift us up to meet you,
with all your saints and angels,
to live with you for ever.
Maranatha:
Come, Lord Jesus!

 

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