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, February 29, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (February 28) - Athens First UMC

Loving God, like a doting grandmother who spoils her grandchildren to no end, and like a love-smitten man who arranges to have an airplane spell out an “I love you” message high in the sky for his love interest, you go above and beyond in showing us just how much you love us.

Thank you for loving us, especially when we feel unlovable. Thank you for loving us more than we can ever dream or imagine.

When we think of just how much we are loved by you, it gives us so much joy and peace in our lives. Like the Psalmist, who when counting his blessings said, “What can I give back to God for all the blessings he’s poured out on me,” we ask the same question this day.

“What can we give back to you for all the blessings you have poured out on us?”

Are you calling us to tithe our resources to Christ and the church, or take the next step closer to tithing? Are you calling us to offer our gifts generously toward our Capital Campaign?

“What can we give back to you for all the blessings you have poured out on us?”

Thank you for this season of Lent and giving us this time to think about what it means to offer to Christ and the church our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. What do you want to do through each one of us to accomplish your will in our church?

Your many blessings are all around us like in the large number of volunteers who served Monday Lunch this past week, like in the smiles of a little girl and her mother who attended our church for the first time last Sunday, and like in the college student here in our church who recently began visiting nursing home residents because she is responding to your calling in her life to be a blessing to others.

O God, your blessings are all around us and they lead us to respond by offering to you our very best gifts. Thank you for running out to embrace us even before we have a chance to tell you that we’re sorry for our sins. Thank you for the awesome robe, the expensive ring, and for the welcome home party that we didn’t deserve.

But most of all, thank you for giving us the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together saying,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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