[There is something very calming and peaceful when you get to church before anyone has arrived and silently pray up in the balcony (top left photo.) There is also something very joyful and inspiring when a little later that same morning, you are with your church family worshipping in that same space! (top right photo.)]
God, this weekend has that feel of a new beginning here in Athens. Students are back on campus, there’s no place to park, and hamburgers and brats are once again being grilled at the frat house next door. We can feel the energy, the excitement, and the anticipation of a new school year.
And so, during this very busy time of year, we thank you for giving us this morning to catch our breath, and remember who you are and who you are calling us to be. Thank you for this church, this haven of blessing and peace where we can gather as your people.
Help us to think of our church as that setting from our Gospel reading where Jesus asked the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Like the disciples, you want us to think about this question as often as possible. May our church be a place where we grow in our understanding of who you are.
Remind us throughout this new year that Jesus wants to be our Savior, Lord, Shepherd, Guide, Friend, Redeemer, Deliverer, Teacher, and Healer. Lord Jesus, you are all of these things and so much more.
Even as we are excited about what this new school year may bring, we are mindful of those who are anxious about their studies, what their major should be, their future career path, being away from home, and the challenge of not succumbing to negative peer pressure. You care about all of these areas of our lives, and you call us to follow Christ in all that we say and do.
O God, on this beautiful and sunny morning here in southeast, Ohio, our hearts go out to the people of Texas who have been in the pathway of Hurricane Harvey where there has been so much devastation, destruction and loss these past few days. Thank you for the United Methodist Committee on Relief that is already coordinating supplies and identifying churches that are positioned to provide temporary housing for those in need of shelter.
O God, as I offer this prayer, I am reminded of the church member who has experienced Jesus as the one who is the anchor and the seabed in the tempest-tossed waters of life. May the people of Texas turn to you as their anchor in this dangerous and difficult time.
Thank you, Jesus for being our anchor during the storms of life and that with you by our side, we can live each day with courage. And so it is with great confidence in the midst of any storm we may be facing in any given moment, that we join together in praying the words you taught your disciples, and now teach us to pray together…
“Our Father, who art in heaven…”