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, November 13, 2017

Pastoral Prayer (Nov. 12) Athens First UMC

[Our church hosted a West Ohio conference event at our church on Sunday afternoon. Pictured above is our Bishop Gregory Palmer presiding over the Sacrament of Holy Communion in our beautiful sanctuary. This is the first time the Bishop has been in our remodeled building and he was very impressed. Since our church is centrally located in our Foothills district, we often host district and church events like this. This means that several of our church members and staff were willing to give up their Sunday afternoon to serve as greeters, work at the registration table, set up rooms for break-out sessions, run audio/sound, provide and set-up the communion elements, accompany the hymns, and provide direction signs around our building. Thank you, Athens First UMC for being a gracious host for this event!]  

O God, in these darker days of the year, you want us more than ever to shine your light in our community and world. You are calling your churches to be the glowing candlesticks of your love and mercy. We are all your acolytes who are called to take your light into our community and world.

Thank you for the many ways that our church was a like a candlestick this past week where we were able to shine your light of love like the college student who donated brand new winter hats, like the choir members who went to a nursing facility to lead a hymn sing for a dear member of our church, like the great response we had to our Angel Tree Christmas present outreach, like the businessman who had our winter clothing professionally dry cleaned at no cost, and like the many volunteers who will be providing hospitality for a conference event this afternoon here at our church.

Thank you, O God, for the many ways that our church is lighting the way here in our community. We want to be a church that doesn’t miss out on your unexpected arrival. We want to be a church that creatively finds ways to poke holes in the darkness.

On this Sunday as we think about churches being candlesticks in our darkened and broken and hurting world, we lift up our neighboring churches as they light the way for people in need. We also lift up to you the 160 United Methodist Churches in our Foothills District, and the 1,000 United Methodist Churches in our West Ohio Conference as we shine your light in Toledo, in Cincinnati, in Marietta, and everywhere in between. We pray for our District Superintendent, Rev. Dennis Miller and our Bishop, Gregory Palmer as they provide caring leadership in helping our churches in our unified mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our world.

On this Veterans’ Recognition Weekend, we also thank you for those who have served and who our currently serving in the military. Thank you for their service to our country.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus who invites us to pray for a better world even as we pray together, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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