A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (November 1st/All Saints' Sunday) - Athens First UMC

[Photo taken of Athens First UMC in October, 2015 by Anna King. The rainbow reminds us of our mission as a church to share God's covenant love with our community and world through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.]

This is a day like no other on the church calendar. It is a day that reminds us that we do not worship alone. We also worship with all the saints in heaven who have gone before us.

As the Roll of the Victorious is read, our hearts are of full of thankfulness as we remember and honor these dear church members who have gone on to be with the Lord since this time last year.

Family and friends of each loved one are invited to stand as their names are read. We will ring a bell and light a candle after each name is read. We will also ring the bell and light an extra candle at the end of the reading of names to symbolize other loved ones who we name silently in our hearts.

Together, let us lift these saints who have gone on to glory to the Lord.

Paul Bradford, Jean Gall, Don Gamertsfelder, Marcia Johnson, Don Lambert, Herschel McNabb, Aline Paxton, Lara Pickett, Rollie Swart.

We will light one more candle this morning. It is in loving memory of others who are on our hearts and minds and who are also part of that great cloud of witnesses. We haven’t said their names aloud, but we say their names silently now in our hearts. Let us remember with grateful hearts all those whom we have loved. Their lives brightened and changed this world.

O God of resurrection and new life, we thank you for the good news of our faith that offers a grand finale of when the time will come when there will be no more sickness, mourning, pain, or sadness. Even death itself will be defeated once and for all. You have given us an advanced sign of this future reality through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We thank you for this grand finale where there will be nothing but peace, joy, love, and justice. Thank you for reminding us of this good news today.

Just as we give thanks for those saints who have gone before us, remind us that you call us to be your saints in this particular time and place. Help us to be faithful in being the people and the church you call us to be.

You hold all of us in the great arms of your mercy. And now with confidence as the people of God, let us join in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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