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 30, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (November 29/1st Sunday of Advent) - Athens First UMC

O God, thank you for this new season of Advent that will lead us to a joyous Christmas celebration. We are filled with hope and expectation for the new ways that we will experience your presence throughout these next several weeks.

Will we hear you in the music of our December Christmas cantata? Will we see you when we break bread with a new friend at Monday lunch? Will we feel your presence as we hold up our candles on Christmas Eve? O God, help us to not miss out on the many ways you are revealing yourself to us in this season of Advent. Help us to stay alert, to pray, and to not miss a thing!

You are present with us in the singing of “Silent Night,” but you are also present with us in the loud clank and clatter of coins dropping in metal buckets. Thank you for the opportunity to bless our Athens County Food Pantry through our Noisy Bucket Sunday!

We give you thanks for last Sunday’s Town Hall meeting as we heard about our church’s building improvements plan. During this season of Advent and anticipation, bless our congregation as we prayerfully consider the preferred future that you have in mind for our church.

During this time of year as we think about how you came to the world to be one with us, we lift our prayers for those who are suffering and in need. Help us to not exclude anyone from your unconditional and inclusive love.

We pray for Parisians and Pakistanis, for Refugees and Racists, for Christians and Muslims, for Politicians and Peacekeepers, for Bigots and Activists, for Blacks and for Whites, for Young and the Elderly, for News Reporters and Nigerians, for Americans and Iraqis, for Syrians and Israelis, for the Terrorized and the Terrorist, and for every single person or group that has been given a label, for we all belong to you, and your joy is meant for all the world. *

We offer these prayers to you, knowing that your love is more than able to overcome evil with good, injustice with justice, and hatred with peace. In the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, we pray the words that he taught us to say together,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

[* This portion of the prayer was written by Tara Wodard-Lehman, from her article, “A Love Letter Instead of Fear.”]

No comments: