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 18, 2019

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Nov. 17) Athens First UMC

[As always, our Chancel Choir blessed us with two beautiful anthems. They tied in perfectly with our worship theme of living in two worlds at the same time. We live in the world of pain, brokenness, injustice and despair, but we also live in the world where God is making all things new. For the sermon, click hereThe anthem in the video above reminds us to keep reaching for God’s light in this world of so much darkness. We also held our annual “Thanks for Giving” church-wide covered dish following our worship services in honor of all of our many volunteers who serve through the church. See picture below.]

God of new beginnings, we are thankful that you can make all things new. You can take a cross, and turn it into an empty tomb. You can take a few fish and a couple loaves of bread and feed a multitude of hungry people. You can take a small gathering of people on a Sunday morning and send them out to be a blessing to the people in their community. O God, you really can make all things new.


Thank you for you many blessings and signs of your presence in our broken and hurting world. Thank you for the many people in our community who receive a meal through our weekly Monday Lunch ministry. Thank you for all the children and families who will receive Christmas presents through our Angel Tree ministry. 


Thank you for Sunday School teachers, ushers, greeters, choir members, bulletin folders, nursery workers, Honduras mission trip participants, Stephen Ministers, audio/visual helpers, college student lunch cooks, Athens First Saturday volunteers, and so many more ways that our church is seeking to live out the Prophet Isaiah’s vision of new heavens and a new earth.


Forgive us for those times when we become overly cynical and negative and for those times when we ignore the cries and pain of our world. Teach us what it means to live in two worlds at one time, the world that is filled with so much inequity, injustice, and hatred, but also a world that contains so much beauty, grace, and kindness. 


And thank you for the gift of prayer that keeps us connected with you especially during times when we face heartache, grief, broken dreams, criticism, and despair. And during this time of prayer, we lift up to you those who are on our hearts and minds who are in special need of you this day; those in the hospital, those recovering from surgery, those who are feeling lonely, those who are struggling financially. May the light of your grace shine upon each of these persons and situations they are facing.


And shine your grace upon each one of us that we would be open to the signs of your presence and goodness that are all around us. We pray this in the name of Jesus who invited us to pray for your world to become part of our world… “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

[Our annual “Thanks for Giving” volunteer appreciation meal was well attended. In addition to the wonderful Thanksgiving meal, we spent time thanking all of our volunteers who give of their time to help our church live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and world. Thank you, volunteers!]

No comments: