Alpha – Omega; A Scripture Compilation for Kingdomtide

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD,

“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

427912991_deca6b8746_b
Chi-Ro Alpha Omega – Brompton Cemetery, London, England, UK.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, now the Word was with God, and the Word was God and all things were made through him. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light- the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. But sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. For we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way.

But when the fullness of time had come the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. So Mary gave birth to him, her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Yet He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

He said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” So he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For as in Adam all die, so also in Him shall all be made alive. And when He had been crucified he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. But three days later he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.

After that he was taken up into heaven, and the LORD said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Thereafter, He who is seated on the throne will say, “I am making everything new!” Then he will say these words that are trustworthy and true “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” And behold, God has exalted him to the highest place and given him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Edited by Nathan Gilley using the English Standard Version (ESV)

Rev 1:8, Gen 1:1, Jn 1:1,3, Gen 1:3, Jn 1:9, Ro 5:12, Isaiah 53:6, Gal 4:4, Jn1:14, Phil 2:5-6, Luke 2:7, Isa 53:2, Luke 6:27,28,31, Isa 53:3, Jn 6:35, Is 53:5, Phil 2:8, 1Cor 15:22, John19:30, Ro 1:4, Mrk 16:19, Ps 110:1, Rev 21:4,5, Phil 2:9

The idea for compiling this reading was inspired by the two divine utterances of “It is finished.” Once on the cross and once at the end of all things.

Prayer for a Newborn Baby and Mother Immediately after Birth

[Lay hands on infant and mother]

Naked we come from our mothers’ womb
And naked we will depart;
Blessed be the name of the Lord,

The Lord, who with this mother, and through this labor,
has brought forth this miracle of life;
Blessed be the name of the Lord,

[Make the sign of the cross on the infant’s head with the blessing below]

The name that we now put upon this child and family:
The Lord bless her and keep her;
The Lord make his face to shine upon her and be gracious to her;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon her and give her peace.

Blessed be the name of the Lord,

[Prayed over the mother]

The Lord, who knitted this child together in your womb, who creates and sustains all things, uphold you and go with you in the good work of motherhood that you have begun. May He fill you with all faith, hope, and love; causing you to delight yourself in Him, forevermore.

Blessed be the name of the Lord,

The name by which we are saved- Jesus Christ,
Amen.

 

My newest daughter is now almost 3 months old, but in the weeks preceding her birth, I was motivated to finish working on a concise prayer to be prayed over newborns with their mothers. I completed my first draft a few days before my wife, Bethany, went into labor. After my wife gave birth to our baby girl, Ruth was immediately given to her mother- to snuggle on her chest. Then, as things calmed down, and the necessary nursing and physician tasks were completed, I placed my hands on the head of my newborn daughter and on my wife to recite this prayer.

20181004_143534 (2)

The idea for this prayer was born out a desire to have a practical and particularly Christian way to celebrate and mark the joyous occasion of a child’s birth. As a physician I often attend a mother during delivery and become so engrossed in the physical task of guiding, monitoring, and running anticipatory scenarios that before I even think about it, my job is done and I have left the room with a sigh of relief that nothing went off the rails. But I have neglected to acknowledge that God has worked a miracle and allowed me to bear witness. I have missed one of the great opportunities for which I became a physician. To be Christ – in word and deed, at the extremes of life – when our hearts are so naturally ready to receive the grace of God.

Hopefully, this prayer can become a part of my routine, and allow my patients and myself to celebrate, give glory to God, and start a pattern of prayer over each child. I plan to memorize this prayer and routinely ask expectant mothers if they would like for me to pray this blessing over their child after the birth.

Now I just need help translating this into Spanish (because that is the language that the majority of my obstetric patients speak – already (I am presently a resident family physician in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in my third and final year), and although my Spanish is adequate to communicate, it is not eloquent).  For anyone endeavoring to translate this, please note that three scriptures are being drawn from for the above prayer: Job 1:21, Psalm 113:2, and Numbers 6:24-26.

 

Vigil with a Crying Newborn

God Almighty,
Who longs to wipe away every tear, and bring this world to right.

Make me your hand of steadfast love to the distraught,
Make me your voice of peace to the suffering,
Make me your embrace of consolation to the helpless.
Make me Christ to my child and make my eyes see Christ in my child.

Hear our prayers, O LORD,
and give ear to our cries;
Do not be silent at these tears;
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, who sojourned here with us,

Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

(Revelation 21:4, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Hosea 11, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:12, Psalm 39:12, Revelation 22:20)
Ruth Crying in Daddy's arms
Ruth is 10 days old, and a wonderful baby. She occasionally wants to nurse more frequently than is possible – and find’s her father’s lack of breasts to be very upsetting.

Prayer is a powerful form to reframe our thoughts and expectations into Christlikeness, as well as a call for God to transform this reality into kingdom reality. This prayer is a lot of the former and a little of the later.

Newborns were made to cry, and crying is a good, God-given, form of communication for them. And in the mature human is a complimentary God-given motivation to do something about a crying baby. But when all the actions have been taken and your baby still cries – it time to join with them, and cry out to God. This prayer is meant to be a prayer spoken over or with the urgent and inconsolable cries of a newborn who is fed, changed, swaddled, burped, held – and yet still crying (as Ruth was for 2 hours last night).

After writing this prayer I followed these directions to afix the prayer to battery powered wax candle that we use as our nightlight during these long first nights while Ruth sleeps in our room. I was able to present this to my wife for our use.

20181014_154120

Grace and Peace to us all,

Nathan Gilley, Murfreesboro, TN, USA; October 14th, The year of our Lord 2018