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, April 6, 2020

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (April 5/Palm Sunday) Athens First UMC

[We are seeing a lot of creative ways for our church to continue to be the church during this time of social distancing and online worship. Some of our neighbors who live near each other organized this neighborhood Palm Sunday processional down their street. The stores were out of palm branches so they used these forsythia branches instead. For the Palm Sunday online worship service, click here. Join us for our online Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services this week as well!]

Like the disciple Peter, we want to trust you during this time of uncertainty and fear, Lord Jesus. You called Peter to trust you by getting out of the boat, but for us, you are telling us to stay in our boat to help stop the spread of this virus.


It doesn’t feel very heroic to just stay in our boats until the storm passes but if we do this together, we can help save lives. And so, help us to use this time to pray for those who are ill; those who who caring for them; those who are mourning loved ones who have died; those who are now without work; those who are disconnected from their sources of support, those who are missing out on graduation ceremonies or who have to reschedule other special events like weddings. If anything, Lord, this is a time for us to deepen our prayers lives during this much slower pace of life.


Help us to love those in our homes, in our neighborhoods and through our correspondences of phone calls, cards, emails, FaceTime, and Zoom meetings. When we become impatient and irritable during this long time of seclusion, as Dr. Amy Acton has been reminding us each day, remind us to always be kind to ourselves and to one another.


Thank you for so many stories of kindness that are happening all around us even though the waves are crashing against our boats. Stories like neighbors stepping outside their front doors to sing happy birthday to another neighbor. College students volunteering to clean around our church. A church member taking Holy Communion wafers and juice cups to church members who are alone or in assisted living. Lord Jesus, help us to not miss these moments of kindness that brighten our day like the cherry blossoms that are in full bloom along the bike path.


And so Lord Jesus, during this Holy Week, we will continue to stay in our boats and trust you through this storm even as we pray together…


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

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