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 27, 2017

Pastoral Prayer (Feb. 26) Athens First UMC

[Our youth presented a skit during worship that encouraged people to sign up for our Saturday, March 11, 8:30 am to 11:30 am church-wide hospitality training at the OU Inn. The first scene in the skit shows a church NOT doing a very good job of welcoming new people on Sunday morning. In the photo above, the person in the back chair is the guest and the youth who is standing is pretending to be a church member telling the new person to move because that is HER seat. The last scene shows how our church welcomes new people by warmly greeting them, handing them a bulletin, and helping them to find a place to sit.]

O God, truth be told, whenever get a glimpse of your presence we feel a little out of our element because of the overwhelming radiance of your glory.

We are taken aback when we see a breathtaking sunset from the back porch of our house. Our hands shake when we receive the bread and the juice for Holy Communion and think about what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. Our heart beats a little faster as we hold a newborn baby and think about the miracle of birth. We have to catch our breath when some extra funds appear just when we needed it the most.

Yes, O God, your presence here in worship and in our everyday lives can sometimes leave us feeling a little out of our element. Even when these holy “thin place” moments may take us a little off guard at times, remind us that they are always meant to draw us into a closer relationship with you.

O God, whenever we celebrate the transfiguration of Jesus, we are also mindful that the beginning of Lent is only a few days away. As we prepare for our Ash Wednesday services and the season of Lent, may this be a time where we gain a greater appreciation for what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. Thank you for this incredible opportunity we will have to deepen our faith as we focus on the meaning of the cross during Sunday worship, in our private devotions, and in our small groups.

We also offer prayers for people in our congregation this morning who are ill, facing medical tests and treatments, or who are struggling with some other challenge or problem. Bless them as they draw strength from you. Remind them that they are not alone and that with you, all things are possible.

And dear God, thank you for the early taste of spring that we are not used to having here in Ohio. Some of us were able to go for a walk, leave our coats at home, and open up some windows. More of this kind of weather would be greatly appreciated.

Regardless of the weather outside, we just want you to know that we are thankful for the many ways you shine the presence of Christ in our everyday lives. Thank you for these holy moments.

And now, as your grateful people, we join together in saying the Lord’s Prayer… “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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