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, May 29, 2017

Pastoral Prayer (May 28/Ascension Sunday) - Athens First UMC

[Have you ever noticed the several people in our congregation who wear those red t-shirts on the last Sunday of each month? People wear these shirts to promote our upcoming "Athens First Saturday" community outreach held on the 1st Saturday of each month. We meet in Fellowship Hall at 9 am and during the morning, people choose to serve in one of several outreach projects to bless our community like arranging flowers to take to the hospital, making blankets for community organizations, picking up litter around town, making cards for shut-ins, leading a nursing home worship service, etc. Pictured above is the Mather family from Sunday's worship service. The quote on the back of their shirts is from John Wesley which encourages to "do all the good you can to all the people you can." Ascension Sunday reminds us that when Christ blessed his disciples as he ascended to his heavenly throne, he also blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. That's what AFS is all about.]

O God, thank you for your Son who is seated next to you on your heavenly throne. We acknowledge you as the true king and ruler over all creation. Thank you for this day on the church calendar when we not only remember, but also celebrate your kingship and authority. Your rule is one of love, peace, and justice.

You are the true king who can make all things new. You are the one who parted the Red Sea and led your people into the Promised Land. You are the one who sent Jesus to point people to your kingdom and who did many signs and wonders. You are the one who raised him from the dead on Easter morning. You are the one who has promised to return to establish your kingdom once and for all. You are the one who blessed those disciples as Christ ascended to his throne.

And thankfully, you continue to bless your people so that we can be a blessing to others. O God, we all are in need of your blessings of peace and justice this day. Your world is in need of your healing love.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, we are especially thankful for those who have given their lives through serving our country. Thank you for their sacrifice and courage. We long for a world where all nations work toward peace. We long for a world where people can attend a concert without fear of a terrorist bomb exploding. We long for a world where everyone has access to the basic necessities of life.

O God, on this ascension Sunday, bless us, bless our church, so that we will be able to fulfill the awesome purpose and mission that you have entrusted to us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and world.  It is in his risen and ascended name that we now pray together…

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