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, December 24, 2018

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Dec. 23/Advent) Athens First UMC

[Following our Sunday services, Emily Brown shared about her work with the Peace Corps in Uganda. She is home for the holidays. Our theme for this last Sunday of Advent was “Light the Candle of Love.” Click here for the sermon. Emily is a great example of how people in our church are shining God’s love in our community and world even as far away as Uganda. We are proud of you, Emily!]

O God, thank you for our Advent journey these past four weeks and the lighting of the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. The candles around the Advent Wreath are getting smaller and smaller as they slowly burn down each Sunday during worship but each of those flames continues to shine brightly.

Help us to be like these Advent candles, loving God. We pray that your light of hope, peace, joy, and love would continue to shine for all to see. Help our church to be like a giant candle that provides light and warmth to the people of our community and beyond. We especially pray for all who will come to this place for our Christmas Eve services tomorrow evening that they would be drawn to you as we all hold up our lights as we sing “Silent Night.”

Thank you for our special Christmas missions offering this month that will go to purchase Personal Energy Transportation carts, help start new faith communities in our West Ohio Conference, and closer to home, provide food through the Athens County Food Pantry. O Lord, thank you for all these ways that we are seeking to shine your light in a world that is often filled with darkness.

During this season of Advent, you have reminded us that every single gift we offer in your name helps to make that flame a little brighter. The gifts of inviting someone to church, teaching a Sunday School class, running the sound board, going on a mission trip, folding bulletins, serving a meal, greeting at the door, listening with compassion, offering to pray, picking up litter, delivering flowers, sharing a testimony, making a pledge, sponsoring a radio broadcast, visiting the lonely – all of these gifts are making your flame that much brighter in and through our church.

And whenever we are in need of hope, peace, joy, and love, remind us to pray the words that Jesus taught us to pray together…

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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