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, January 23, 2017

Pastoral Prayer (Jan. 22) - Athens First UMC

[Our Chancel Choir hosted a fun Cabaret Music event at our church this past Saturday evening. Several of the songs were from the Charlie Brown musical. Toward the end of the program, the choir presented me with this Charlie Brown football that was signed by our choir members. It is now in my office as a reminder that we have a wonderful music program and in addition to our Sunday worship services, we are also a church that likes to offer these other creative ways like Cabaret to reach our community with God's love.]

Lord Jesus, don’t take this the wrong way, but we are taken a little off guard by your invitation to drop what we are doing and follow you. We have our routines and schedules and so we’re a little worried what it will mean if we say accept your invitation. We’ll need to drop our nets like those first disciples and discover what it means to put you first in everything we do. In many ways, we have already been following you, so we’re not exactly sure what this new invitation that we received during church today will mean for our everyday lives.

Will it mean that we will follow you to new places that we have never visited? Will it mean that we will meet people we have never met? Will it mean that we will need to adjust our worldview, our opinions, and our culturally shaped mindset to conform to what you want for our community and world?

And so, as we hold on to our nets, deciding if we should respond to your invitation or not, we are also thinking about the new opportunities, the new blessings, the new joys, and the new purpose that you want each of us to have as well as our church. We have heard how you have a way of breathing new life into every situation you encounter.

So, yes, Lord. We’re game. We’re not going to wait until next week to decide, or next month, or next year. We’re dropping our nets right now. Right here. We’re going to follow you beginning this very moment. Thank you that we have each other in our walk with you. Thank you for this church that is here to show us what it means to be your fully devoted followers who offer our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness in all that we do.

Even as the pastor leads in this prayer, we seek to follow you by giving to you any situation, problem, or challenge that is more than we can handle. We give it all to you and we will depend on your wisdom, guidance, and strength to see us through. And we also lift up to you other people and situations that are in need of your transforming and life giving love. In these moments of silence, we lift these needs to you.

And now, as followers of Christ, we pray the words he taught us to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” 

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