Readers who recognize these words will no doubt recall that they were spoken by (here, my memory is a bit fuzzy but I seem to think his name was Hannibal something or other) the dauntless leader of the A-Team (TV show back in the 80s?).
Wikipedia to the rescue: The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about a fictitious former United States Army Special Forces unit who, after being court-martialed “for a crime they didn’t commit”, escape from military prison and, while still on the run, work as soldiers of fortune. The show had a predictable theme of a daring rescue from a hopeless situation by a group of misfits who stumble and blunder through their parts as they carry out the brilliant but hidden scheme of their leader. By the way, Wikipedia also confirmed my identification of the A-Team leader as Hannibal Smith, who concluded the program with the words: I love it when a plan comes together.
Believers in Jesus are especially called to live out God’s plan, which not only personally includes them but also fits wondrously into the great cosmic drama which God is unfolding in time in history. We stumble and blunder through our lives as we play out our individual roles in God’s plan. Usually we are caught up in the details of life, struggling, striving (yes, stumbling and bumbling) through our day to day duties, privileges and circumstances. Sometimes these are enjoyable; sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are very difficult. Sometimes we can see their purpose, but often we do not. When life is hard or even busy, we tend to become disoriented and confused. At least I do.
In his great wisdom and fatherly concern for us, our Lord has provided us with the privilege of Christian worship. He has appointed one day in 7 to be set aside for rest and worship – especially public worship. The primary purpose of our worship is to glorify God and give to him the praise and honor he deserves. In addition to the physical rest which we need, another benefit we derive is that while we worship him, he reorients us and sharpens our focus. He gets us thinking properly. He reminds us that he is God and we are not. He confronts us with his truth. We are reminded by God’s word of the many benefits and blessings he has given to us.
I suspect that most Christians have little appreciation for the amount of planning which goes into a worship service. Beyond the obvious music rehearsals is the work of the pastor and others who diligently participate whose diligence is often unrecognized. Having planned public worship for over 30 years, I have an appreciation for the effort entailed in working out an order of worship. I also have a growing gratitude of the Holy Spirit who silently works in the minds, hearts and circumstances of believers as he enables us to worship the Lord. I think God loves it when he sees his plan comes together!
Recent blog posts in hopeforkip.com have focused on “waiting.” Last Sunday’s public worship service at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church in Hampton, Virginia, was a great help to me in realigning my perspective. Wonderful truths were recited and highlighted by the Holy Spirit as we participated. In my struggling with waiting I was reminded that God waits patiently for me. I thank him for his forbearance and patience with me while I’m learning to wait on him.
Here are a couple of excerpts from our order worship, which were particularly helpful to me:
CONFESSION OF SIN
Almighty God, since You delay with so much forbearance the punishments which we have deserved and daily draw on ourselves, grant that we may not indulge ourselves but carefully consider how often and in how many different ways we have provoked Your wrath against us. May we learn humbly to present ourselves to You for pardon, and with true repentance implore Your mercy. With all our heart we desire to submit ourselves to You, whether You chastise us, or according to Your infinite goodness, forgive us. Let our condition be ever blessed, not by flattering ourselves in our apathy, but by finding You to be our kind and bountiful Father, reconciled to us in Your only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Adapted from John Calvin as quoted in Prayers of the Reformers (ed. Clyde Manschreck).…
(Hymn following the preaching of God’s Word) He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought!
- He leadeth me: O blessed thought! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be, still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Refrain: He leadeth me, he leadeth me; by his own hand he leadeth me:
his faithful foll’wer I would be, for by his hand he leadeth me.
- Sometimes ‘mid scenes of deepest gloom, sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
by waters calm, o’er troubled sea, still ’tis his hand that leadeth me. [Refrain]
- Lord, I would clasp thy hand in mine, nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see, since ’tis my God that leadeth me. [Refrain]
- And when my task on earth is done, when, by thy grace, the vict’ry’s won,
e’en death’s cold wave I will not flee, since God through Jordan leadeth me. [Refrain]
Words: Joseph H. Gilmore (1862; alt.); Music: William B. Bradbury (1864)
I thank God for the well-thought-out expressions of spiritual wisdom and insight available to me and my brothers and sisters through the diligent work by devoted people of God throughout the ages. The Holy Spirit uses these to honor God and edify God’s people. I also thank God for faithful pastors who provide these resources to their sheep. Thanks to Rev. Jeff Ferguson for his good efforts.