SummerLINK Boston: What A Friend We Have in Jesus

SummerLINK Boston: What A Friend We Have in Jesus

Hello from Boston!
This week we’ve been serving at Soccer Nights, a free soccer camp for kids sponsored by Redemption Hill Church. Every night we’ve had over 200 kids come out and play with us. One wonderful surprise has been that many of the children we work with at the Boys and Girls Club and the Willis Avenue Center have also attended Soccer Nights, and this has given us more time to love these children. The forum of Soccer Nights provides us a unique opportunity to mingle among parents and engage in meaningful conversations. The Lord has been gracious to provide many openings to speak the Gospel to the families in attendance. In addition, Redemption Hill is launching a new, free counseling ministry, and we have been able to offer this service up to the Medford community.
Wednesday night as we were closing up Soccer Nights and looking over contact cards with our volunteer crew (including our friends from Open Door Church in Raleigh), Pastor Tanner Turley mentioned something that struck me: Soccer Nights has ridden atop many prayers – and because of this, it will continue to be a fruitful labor (roughly paraphrased – I’m certain he put it more eloquently).


Not only is this a delightful Truth, but it is also convicting. Truth rests in worshipping Christ Jesus. When He was on earth, the God-Man prayed. In a grand mystery, the One who is one with the Father, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men,” the One who is all-powerful, all-knowing, praying to the Father, who is all-powerful, all-knowing. Jesus prayed for the protection of His sheep (John 17:15), the unity of His future followers (John 17:20-21), and daily grace (Matthew 6:11). Jesus commanded us to pray that we would not fall into temptation (Luke 22:46). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to pray for all people (1 Timothy 2:1). I have pitifully followed the Lord’s example or kept the Lord’s commands regarding prayer. In times of trial, my instinct is to be my own first-responder and seek damage-control. In temptation, my flesh tells me that I, all on my own, am indeed strong enough to resist.
At the same time, all of SummerLINK has been reading Dietrich Bonheoffer’s Life Together. Just the other day I read an excerpt entitled “The Secret of the Psalter” where Bonheoffer asserts that the psalms – those so often difficult to read, those calling for the slaughter of enemies, those declaring innocence, those lamenting undeserved suffering – are the prayers of Jesus. Bonheoffer writes that the Christian “can pray these psalms, through Jesus Christ, from the heart of Jesus Christ.”
As Tanner spoke about a church that made prayer their primary labor, I was reminded of the following quote from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity: “[The Lord’s Prayer’s] very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realize what the words mean, you realize that you are not a son of God. You are not a being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centered fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.”
Lewis puts more broadly what Bonheoffer has illuminated in the psalms: to pray is to pray “through Jesus” and “from the heart of Jesus.” The ability to “boldly approach the throne of grace” is only granted when we are hidden in the righteousness of the Son. It is the special privilege of the Believer to pray in the name of the Son. Prayer is a communication of the outrageous Gospel: an enemy has been made a friend, someone far has been brought near, a slave to sin has been made a son of the Almighty – only by the finished work of Christ.
And so the Lord is teaching me the necessity and beauty of prayer in temptation, in trials, in ministry, in daily provision – a reminder that my “number one job description is walking with the Lord (a bit of wisdom from Jeremy Chasteen).” May we never forget what a glorious scandal it is that we, wretched sinners, are able to approach the Eternal One by claiming the name of His Holy Son, and in being startled by this grace find ourselves so in love with the Rescuer that we are able to pray earnestly, with enthusiasm, unceasingly: “Your will be done.”
For those of you interceding for the Boston team:
– pray for the Lord to continuously strengthen our leaders Chad and Christy, & their sweet baby boy Grayson has recently gotten his first infection – pray for a quick recovery and that he would be able to sleep soundly!
– pray that our team unity will continue to abound, so far we have been very blessed!
– pray for our obedience in boldly declaring the Gospel
– pray for Redemption Hill Church and the city of Boston with knowledge that despite the darkness present “let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you (the church), […] and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” This city is His, and we are here to proclaim the King’s return.
In Him,
Farris