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, October 16, 2017

Pastoral Prayer (Oct. 15) Athens First UMC

[This past Friday evening, our church hosted the first Ohio University choral concert since our building renovations were completed this past February. It was a packed house! The balcony was also filled and people were able to mingle in our newly expanded glass enclosed Welcome Center. Within two days of Friday's concert, the risers were taken down, the protective floor mats were put away, and the pulpit, lectern, altar, baptism font, and organ were put back into place in time for our worship service on Sunday morning. We will be hosting another university concert this Friday at 8pm and another concert is scheduled for Sunday, November 19, 6pm.]

O God, if we are really honest, we have to admit that we do have trust issues. We say that it is well with our souls, but when trouble hits, sometimes our faith is difficult to find. Thank you, O God for reminding us again and again in the scriptures that it is perfectly normal to have trust issues.

You don’t shame us when we have questions about our faith. You don’t try to quiet us down when we feel like we have been treated unfairly. You don’t shun us when we question if you are truly present or if you are even real. Like for so many of the Psalmists, you actually invite us to express our frustrations, our doubts, and yes, even our anger.

Thank you for being a God who wants us to be honest and open with you. Thank you for being a God who promises to walk alongside us especially during those times in life when it feels like the ground has been removed from underneath our feet.

It’s during those difficult times that you quietly offer to us your patient and listening ear. It’s during those difficult times that you cry with us. It’s during those times that we are reminded that we are not alone.

O God, be our strong tower. Be that tower where we can find renewed strength to begin a new day. Be that tower for the people of California where wildfires have destroyed homes and communities. Be that tower for the people who have been in the path of so many hurricanes during these past several weeks. Be that tower for so many people who walk by our church each day with heavy hearts. Be that tower for those who are experiencing financial, medical, relational, and spiritual strain. Be our strong tower, O God.

God of compassion and love, we thank you for the many ways that our congregation has been able to serve others this past week in very specific ways. Thank you for these past several weeks where we have been learning what it means to live more generously in our faith.

Thank you for sending us Jesus, who embodied your generosity through his life, death, and resurrection, and who taught us to pray saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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