“SO BE IT.”
Today’s Scripture Reading
54 When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
1 Kings 8:54-61
Quite honestly, “So be it” is a particular phrase. Some people use this phrase of a way of saying, “I do not agree with it, but I will accept it.” others translate this phrase to mean, “Since I can't change it, I'll live with it.” Still others might interpret this phrase to mean something akin to resignation or surrender, a way of saying, “I give up. You win.”
Wesley's intention of speaking this phrase, in my opinion, likely meant something altogether different. Wesley use of “So be it” was an indication that he was not simply passively accepting the responsibilities identified and expressed in the prayer. Rather, Wesley was deliberately accepting the responsibilities and was going to be intentional about enthusiastically seeking ways to act. We might presume that Wesley was saying, “It is as I have prayed it. I understand it, and I accept it. Let it be true in me.”
When we pray, “So be it,” we are making a statement to God, in the same way Wesley did, that we are deliberately accepting the responsibilities and that we will enthusiastically seek ways to act. When I was in college, I joined U. S. Navy reserve. I did so for many reasons: to serve the people of our country, to cover the costs of my education, to get a trade skill (heavy equipment operation) That I could fall back on in case the “pastor thing” didn't work out, and to join the long list of Navy veterans in my family. It was a fantastic experience. I learned so much about discipline, honor, leadership, loyalty, and a host of other important character qualities. Much of what I learned still serves me today as I lead teams, develop people, and complete projects.
I still vividly remember the day I stood at the MEPS (military entrance processing station) in upstate New York and took my Oath of Duty. After meeting the physical requirements and passing the aptitude tests, meeting with the Navy counselor to pick my job, and reviewing the military codes of conduct, I was placed in room with other soon-to-be shipmates, and in front of the US flag, a Picture of the president, and the MEPS commanding officer. I raised my right hand and said, “I swear.” “I, , do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States… so help me God.” after the Oath of Duty, I was bound to the terms of my contract and would be held accountable for my actions or inactions.
The words So be it remind me of my Oath of Duty experience. Essentially, I was telling the United States Department of Defense that I was accepting the responsibilities of my duty and that I was going to be intentional about enthusiastically seeking ways to act on the responsibilities. This is how I view my words So be it in the Wesley Covenant Prayer. I am declaring my willingness to serve God and God's mission to restore the world toward its intended wholeness.
This phrase, “So be it,” is used in this portion of the prayer, much like the “Amen” at the end of the prayer -- to condense the principles and precepts within the prayer and express sincere agreement with them. Wesley was not granting his approval of the principles and precepts. After all, they are not his to approve. Wesley was profoundly, albeit sincerely, conveying his acceptance to take on the challenge to embody the prayer. “Be” indicates that what exists is true. “It” refers to exactly what matters.
Let it be true in each of us that we accept the principles and precepts which are both implicit and explicit within the prayer. In doing so, we embody the person and work of Jesus, who modeled to all what it means to sacrifice so that the world might know and for the sake of others.
How committed am I to the Wesley Covenant Prayer?
How willing am I to pray, “let it be true of me”?
Gracious God, we completely surrender all to you! You are worthy of all our praise. As we kneel and worship to you, feel our love, devotion, and loyalty. By the working power of the Holy Spirit, convict us and guide us to live in such a way that reveals our agreement with your truth. May you approve of our lives. Amen.
In 140 characters or less, describe what you believe about God. Share this belief statement with another.
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