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, December 14, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (December 13) - Athens First UMC

What a beautiful sound when we gather together each Sunday to sing your praises in church, O God! You desire even those of us who are prone to sing off key to sing aloud, because of the good news of our faith. We sing aloud because your invitation is for all people, especially for those who feel excluded and unwanted.

Thank you that you claim us as your “Joy to the World” people. In a world filled with fear and uncertainty, you remind us through your prophet, Zephaniah to not be fearful, because you promise to calm us with your love.

During these days leading up to Christmas joy, replace our anxiety with your peace, our doubts with your assurance, our disappointments with your hope, and our cold hearts with your love.

The world thinks it knows how to bring peace to our troubled world. We have tried tanks and air strikes. We use profiling and stricter security. We stereotype whole groups of people, and look with suspicion on those who do not look and act like us. We have tried all of these things, but we have forgotten the greatest weapon and security measure of all…your love for the world.

This season of Advent couldn’t have come at a better time for us because we so desperately need to be reminded that the One who was born in a lowly manger is known as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

O God, in this holy season, help us to become more like the one we sing about in our Christmas carols. Help us to become more like the picture on the Christmas cards we send out to family and friends. Help us to become more like the string of lights that light up our Christmas trees. Help us to become more like Friday Night’s Christmas Cantata that believes that there is no darkness that your light cannot overcome.

Today, we sing out our faith on behalf of those who find it difficult to sing with us today, because they are facing loneliness, pain, unemployment, health problems, grief, and heartache. We sing for them, as well as for ourselves.

And may all of us remember, singers and non-singers alike, that the most important thing of all is that you are singing right along with us. You are singing because you take great delight in being our God.

With your song of love in our heart, teach us to pray the words you taught your disciples, and now teach to us,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

No comments: