Heavens and earth may—and will!—pass away, O Lord, along with all living things which inhabit them; but, through the person and work of Jesus, you are bringing into existence new heavens and a new earth and a reclaimed and renewed humanity. Though the heavens vanish like smoke and the earth wear out like a garment and those of us who live on it die like gnats, your salvation is forever and our deliverance will never end.
Our hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
We dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, we stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
God, we thank you for our earliest Christian mothers and fathers who stood bravely on Christ, their Rock, in spite of dungeon, fire and sword.
We thank you for Protestant Reformers who, 500 years ago, helped the church move out of the quicksand of superstition and corruption back onto the firm foundation of Christ and the biblical word which bears witness to him.
We thank you for those who established in colonial America and in Williamsburg a Presbyterian Church with Christ at its center, with the Bible as its guide and with moral and ethical values consistent with Christ’s life and teaching.
God, keep our feet planted solidly on this Rock lest we be swept to the left or to the right by winds of doctrine which deny Christ even as they claim to serve him.
Keep us true to the radical inclusiveness of Christ as we foster the ecumenical and interfaith relations for which we have been noted.
Keep us true to the righteousness of Christ by working to build bridges between people where others work at erecting barriers.
Keep us true to the peace of Christ as we strive for wholeness in our personal lives and support public policies and programs which foster wholeness in the lives of others.
Keep us true to the graciousness of Christ as we pray your blessing, not only upon ourselves and our friends and allies, but upon our enemies as well.
Eternal and almighty God, we give you thanks for all your faithful people who have followed your will in a great procession of praise throughout the world and down through the centuries, into our own time and place. As we remember them, inspire us by your Spirit to join their ranks and follow our Lord through life, to be bold as they were, and brave as well, witnessing to your righteous truth and generous love. Give us grace, O God, that we will leave a legacy of faithfulness to encourage and challenge those who follow us along the way of discipleship; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.