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, September 9, 2019

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Sept. 8) Athens First UMC

[Our college student ministry is up and running through Sunday lunches, worship, and small group ministry. What a holy privilege it is to be a home church for college students while they are at Ohio University.  During Sunday’s worship services, we also blessed 89 school kits and 66 hygiene kits that were assembled at our Athens First Saturday gathering and will be given to Festival of Sharing through the United Methodist Church. See the photo below. For Sunday’s sermon click here.]

Searching God, of all the people in the world, you somehow know how to find us. We are more than a social security or student ID number to you. You actually know us by name, and are constantly reaching out to us with your unconditional love.

Thank you for the many times this past week that you called our name. That early morning drive to Lancaster with the sun beaming through the fog that was hovering over the green hills along 33. That conversation in a crowded coffee shop that concluded with a prayer for God’s continued healing and guidance. That friend who just a couple weeks ago was feeling so much stress at work, now feeling renewed, encouraged, and hopeful. The Growing Tree preschool child who noticed a child who looked lonely and stooped down to give her a hug. Celebrating the 102nd birthday of a church member who continues to faithfully love and serve her church and listen to our services over the radio. 

Thank you for all of these ways that you have called our names just in this past week alone, O God, reminding us of your presence. Thank you for seeing us up in that sycamore tree and inviting us into a deeper relationship with you. 

You have called us by name to share what a difference you have made in our lives with others. You have called us by name to bless others. You have called us by name to pray for those who have lost so much from last week’s Hurricane. You have called us by name to bring peace in a world of so much violence. And Lord, instead of stores that have outside banners that read, “Guns & Ammo,” help us to be a church that promotes “Love & Peace.” You have called us by name to be part of your community of faith, the Body of Christ.

O God, thank you for calling each one of us by name.

And now, we call you by name, as we pray the prayer you taught us to say together…

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

[Some of our children blessing the Festival of Sharing school and hygiene kits during the 10:30 service. They were assembled during our Athens First Saturday gathering.]

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