Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sermon "Lost Treasure"

Stained glass window in balcony at my church

January 27, 2019      Lost Treasure Pastor Carol P. Taylor
Proverbs 2:1-8
New International Version (NIV)
Moral Benefits of Wisdom
2 My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Luke 2:41-52 (NIV)
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
NRSV "and in divine and human favor."
Sermon Series Meeting Jesus Up Close
JOKE Delivering a speech at a banquet on the night of her arrival in a large city, a visiting minister told several anecdotes she expected to repeat at a conference the next day.
Because she wanted to use the jokes again, she requested the reporters to omit them from any accounts they might turn in to their newspapers.
A reporter, in commenting on the speech, wrote: "The minister told a number of stories that cannot be published."
We’ve met Jesus in his early life, with stories (that can and have been published) of his birth, the 2 prophets Simeon and Anna proclaiming that the 8-day old infant was indeed the long-awaited messiah, the visit by the Magi, the escape to Egypt made by Mary & Joseph to protect Jesus. These Gospel lessons from Matthew and Luke told their listeners 2000 years ago and us today, that Jesus was God’s treasured Son, our savior, from the very beginning. Today we’re looking at the story in Luke’s Gospel of Jesus as an adolescent. We see a glimpse into Jesus’ family life, assuring that the family closely followed the customs of their day, regularly going from their home in Nazareth to Jerusalem for the special religious feasts!
In this story from the Gospel of Luke, we meet Jesus up close, partly through Mary and Joseph.
The Message Version
They Found Him in the Temple
41-45 Every year Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up as they always did for the Feast. When it was over and they left for home, the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents didn’t know it. Thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims, they journeyed for a whole day and then began looking for him among relatives and neighbors. When they didn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for him.
46-48 The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of his answers. But his parents were not impressed; they were upset and hurt.
His mother said, “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”
49-50 He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” But they had no idea what he was talking about.
51-52 So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.
The annual Passover festival was, and is, the most important of holidays for Jewish people. The Passover commemorates the escape from enslavement in Egypt. Going to Jerusalem for the Passover was one of the things that a devout Jewish family did every year if physically possible So we see from this story that Mary and Joseph followed their faith, raising Jesus in their traditions.
In Biblical times, travel could be a challenge. Ordinary people walked most places. And when making a lengthy trip, they traveled in groups.-extended families, neighbors. A trip like this, going to Jerusalem for Passover, would have had a lot of people going at the same time. Women and children traveled together, the men together. We can see that Mary and Joseph were not bad parents for losing him! Each would assume that Jesus was with the other part of the group. Mary perhaps thinking Jesus, a young man of 12, was traveling with the men. Joseph, possibly thinking Jesus still a kid at only 12, thought he was with the women and children, helping with younger kids. Families traveled during the daylight hours and made camp at night, so they didn’t discover Jesus missing until then.
So - the Passover festival was over. at the end of a day's travel towards home, they realized that Jesus was not with them at all. He was lost. So the next morning they hurried back. But not till the 3rd day, did they finally find him at the Temple! They find him talking with the rabbis. The rabbis, teachers of the Jewish faith, would welcome men to join them in the Temple courtyard. The rabbi would sit to teach, the men could stand and ask questions and discuss points of doctrine. So here is Jesus, 12 years old, sitting with the rabbis, discussing and answering! And they were all astonished at the depth of his knowledge.
The next piece is why scholars believe that Luke got this story right from Mary. We see her reaction is very much the parent of an adolescent!
“Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.”
He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?”
But they had no idea what he was talking about.
this story of Jesus’ life is the last mention of Joseph in the Gospels. Scholars believe that he died some time before Jesus began his ministry. Most likely Joseph was older than Mary. In this time, men followed their father’s trade and generally would marry when they were able to support a family. Women married soon after reaching child bearing age, so usually the husband was older than the wife. So, we know that Jesus grew up in a typical family. They were parents who were anxious about their child.
And after this, Luke states that “as Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people” This shows that Jesus grew intellectually, spiritually, and socially. Jesus already showed great wisdom and it grew! And that he grew in favor -or as the MSG says, Blessed by God and people…. Luke said something very similar at the end of the story about Simeon and Anna with the infant Jesus, “...The child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.”
Luke is stating beyond any doubt that Jesus was indeed human and divine. The qualities of God’s perfect savior.
Hearing this story, most of us who are parents or spend lots of time with kids, may find ourselves thinking about it from Joseph or Mary’s perspective. As a mom I certainly could relate to Mary's feelings! Once of our sons walked home from kindergarten instead of to the sitter’s house, and the hour or so that we didn’t know where he was I was terrified! That awful lost feeling… It was…30 years ago and i remember it as if it were only weeks! I can only imagine how lost Mary and Joseph felt searching for 3 DAYS!! Their treasured son…
And their reactions were very much the parents of adolescent! How could you do this to us?!  They seem to have forgotten-for the moment- the prophecies of 12 years earlier!
No doubt the business of raising a family, Joseph working his trade and by then training Jesus in carpentry, all the stuff of day-to-day life, just crowded out the amazing things they experienced early on.
Our lesson from Proverbs reminds us that we need to actively seek out God’s word and guidance. And when we do, it’s like finding a treasure! God’s wisdom and understanding will fill our hearts. But it doesn’t happen automatically. The text says
“if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding”  
call out, and cry aloud…we can PRAY for God’s guidance and comprehension when we sit down for our personal devotion time. This is the reason I work on and promote devotional materials. I have been blessed using them and I pray that you will be too!  The treasure of God’s guidance is why we begin and end meetings with prayer. It’s not a formality, we are recognizing God’s presence thru the Holy Spirit and we ask for that guidance. I often pray, “We commit this meeting to You”. We need to be deliberate, intentional. We need to keep making time for God. We need to really treasure God’s word and worship. it can be challenging! there can be any number of reasons we don’t spend time with God. but we find treasure when we do. We find comfort, and compassion.
We know that Mary and Joseph followed their traditions, but it seems that the day to day stresses overwhelmed some of their faith. That can happen to us too! They were very typical!
but Luke tells us at the end of the story, Mary ‘treasured all these things in her heart.” When life settled down, she was back home and took time to remember...she held these things dearly, deep within herself. She treasured this story, this terrifying story of her lost son, and his words, that spoke of His Father in heaven, not his earthly father...she treasured them deep within her very heart.
And I think I know why she told Luke about this. She remembered this treasured story years later, on another trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. Another morning when she had to go to look for Jesus, on the 3rd day. But this time the women were going to a borrowed tomb, to anoint his lifeless crucified body. What anguish must have been in her heart that morning.
But it's not the end of the story.
Because of course when the women went to the tomb, they found it empty!
Jesus had risen! The birth, death and resurrection is THE treasure. God’s gift to the world, God’s own treasured Son is our treasured Savior Jesus the Christ. Fully human, fully divine. Jesus brought the lost treasure of God’s mercy, grace and salvation for all, even if we feel as though we are lost! Let us share this incredible treasure with everyone we meet.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

For Ever and a Day Sermon at United Church of Beloit Dec 16 2018

Isaiah 12:2-6
12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

12:3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

12:4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

12:5 Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.

12:6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Reference: Isaiah 9:BULLETIN COVER!
For to us a child is born, 
to us a son is given, 
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called  
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This is of course one of the most famous prophecies of Jesus. The prophet Isaiah wrote approx 700 years before Jesus’ birth. The assumption was that the prophecy was of a king, who would free the Hebrew people from oppression. This would surely be a very special king, a Messiah or anointed One, ordained by God’s own self!! A Wonderful Counselor, who would have unparalleled wisdom, more so than even the revered King Solomon! Mighty God -having immense strength and power, Everlasting Father--one who creates, provides and protects! The Prince of Peace, who would bring an end to wars… This prophecy is a tall order of course! Only One sent from God could fulfill it! These qualities. are all aspects of the perfect peace of God, Shalom.
This 3rd Sunday of Advent we’re thinking about the prophecy of Everlasting Father. That phrase is pretty deep isn’t it? There are many references to God as “Father” in the bible, but also motherly references too. Birth and nurturing, -- covering the young with outstretched wings for example. God is more than Father and Mother. We are language in some ways limits our ability to fully describe God. God is Father and Mother and more than those!

Everlasting ==eternal…. The One who was and is and ever shall be (Revelation)  God’s own name, as told to Moses, I AM
In the original Hebrew-- is literally I am who i will that sense of eternity is right there in God’s own name. Jesus is God’s Son.. and he consistently refers to God as “My Father in heaven” or Abba, which is “Dad” Yet we know from John chapter 1 that Jesus was present at the creation of heaven and earth, and Jesus refers to himself as One with the Father, so he does indeed fulfill this prophecy.

THe verse Pastor Steve read for us is one of the texts for today from the Lectionary, the prescribed texts for each week. THe Prophet is speaking to the Hebrew people and for them as well, singing praises to God. In prepping for today i was struck by the beauty and comfort of these words, written and spoken to people in exile. Reminding them that the Holy One was still present in their very midst.

And one line especially sort of jumped out at me: especially for this Sunday when we light the Candle of Joy:

Verse 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

I immediately thought of a story from the Gospel of John:
Jesus and the disciples are traveling thru Samaria and about noon, the hottest part of the day, Jesus sat down at a well known as Jacob’s well (yes the Jacob of the Old testament who wrestled with God!) the text specifies that Jesus was tired from the journey.

John Chapter 4  
7 A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.” 8 His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food.
9 The Samaritan woman asked, “Why do you, a Jewish man, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other.)
10 Jesus responded, “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.”
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket and the well is deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave this well to us, and he drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!”

Jesus asks her for a drink. He humbles himself to speak to a woman, which wasn’t done in their culture, to speak to a Samaritan. He lets her know that he is in need of a drink of water.  She is at a well at the hottest time of day, clearly she is in need as well!!

She and he are not quite on the same page at first. He speaks of Living Water and she says “sir you don’t have a bucket”.  
I love that her response is to then refer to their common forebear “Our father Jacob”.  They’ve got something in common despite all their differences. (we talked about this at Women’s Fellowship last Spring! The traditional take on this story is that she is an outcast for having 5 previous husbands, and is living with a man now.) yet, when Jesus chooses to speak to her, to share in his need, she chooses to refer to what they have in common.

Then Jesus says “whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”

Her response sounds pretty joyful don't you think?
“Sir, give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!”
She may well be still thinking in practical terms, not the metaphor of ‘living water’ that Jesus uses for Salvation. It would certainly be nice to never again carry a heavy jar back and forth at all hours!! But in just another moment, she will recognize Jesus as a prophet and ask him about the differences in the beliefs of Jews and Samaritans. She is knowledgeable and curious about both religions! Could it be possible that she recognizes the Isaiah reference “with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Certainly by the end of their conversation she did!

This story in the gospel of John is the longest conversation Jesus has with any person. It is also the first time he says outright that he is the Messiah. How interesting that he chooses someone so different from himself!

And what was this woman’s response? She ran back into town to share the news!
Verse 39 tells us. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

The Savior of the world is coming...not as a King, or a military master leading an army. But as a baby..born for one purpose. When the choir sang “Were you there? Did you think of the Good Friday song "Were you there?” Good! Because this baby will be born to go to the cross...for the forgiveness of our sin and to give us eternal life.

Just like the woman at the well, we too are called to share the Good news of Jesus Christ! The prophecies and promises all thru the Bible are of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for all eternity!! We are called to tell about it, And we are called to do even more. To be a disciple and to make disciples is to live as Jesus did. To share the promises of God-the promises of Eternal Salvation, the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Closing Prayer: (from Walter Brueggemann)  Holy One, we give thanks for the gift of Jesus. We ponder the meaning of one who is the Son yet fulfills the role of Everlasting Father. By your Spirit, give us the joy and assurance of your everlasting presence. Empower us as the church to carry forth your promises as we partner in your mission for the world. Amen.

NOW let us do as this woman did and the shepherds did on the night of that first christmas, Go Tell it On the Mountain, Over the Hills and Everywhere! Please stand in body or spirit…

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thankful Thoughts, sermon for Nov 25.

November 25, 2018      Thankful Thoughts        Pastor Carol P. Taylor      
Psalm 136
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

This last weekend of November is for many people the beginning of the Christmas season. Retailers of course have been putting out Christmas stuff since Halloween. (they are merely competing for our money after all!) HOWEVER in the church year, Advent-the season of anticipation of the birth of Christ, doesn’t begin until NEXT Sunday, (Promo advent devotional booklets!) So the church year is in deep competition with our commercial society. One pastor I read said this time of year, the church is in an alternate universe from the culture! It’s really too bad that the consumer culture is so strong, it can take so much away from the actual holiday! and from other faiths who celebrate December holidays besides or instead of Christmas.

So here in our church, we are wrapping up our Thankful November, and next week begins the season of giving. It’s only appropriate to celebrate the Thankful season first, isn’t it! We give most generously out of gratitude and recognition of our blessings.  As Pastor Hayes said at our community service last week, We must be thoughtful in order to be thankful!
Our first scripture (thank you Kari) is from the Psalms. The Psalms were written to be sung. Didn’t you almost want to chant along or even sing along.. His love endures forever!

To hear, to say, to sing a phrase like this over and over, helps get it deeply into our mind and into our hearts, doesn’t it? And how about if we were to say it, with emphasis on a different word each time.
HIS love endures forever, (Whose love?) God, who created heaven and earth, the sun moon and stars, and created humans in God’s own image.
his LOVE endures forever, God’s unconditional, pure love! Love that does not depend on what we do, who we are, or how good we are! Love that is compassionate!
 his love ENDURES forever, it continues or remains, it is constant, it never changes!
his love endures FOREVER! From the very beginning of time to the very end.
God, who created all things and all people, God’s perfect love is for all things for all time!

This is the promise made over and over in the Bible. Unfortunately, in life, things happen, like storms, earthquakes, fires, People fail to live in love and hurt other. These things are not of God, but God is still with us thru all these things. A widely quoted saying of Mr Rogers is look for the helpers. And it is comforting to know that there are always helpers! This is why we pray for the helpers, first responders, for they are doing a tough job, an exhausting job, and part of our prayer is that they remember that they are the Hands and Feet of God in the world, and that they see the image of God in those they are working to help.

Our New Testament lesson today is from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. These people were very dear to his heart, and this letter, even though written while he was imprisoned, is a letter full of the deepest joy, the kind of joy that can only come from that enduring love of God.

READ NT LESSON: Philippians 1 New International Version (NIV)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Commentary, Philippians 1:3-11, Edward Pillar, Preaching This Week,, 2015.
  • "Paul is addressing a community who are deeply committed to the cause of the gospel, and actively share in defending and confirming the gospel. Paul expresses his confidence because he is sure that the Philippians will continue along this road. And as they do so, so also God will work powerfully in their lives to change and transform them, causing love to overflow from them."

This was a group of people who had a deep abiding love of God and a sure faith in Jesus the Christ. The church was based in the home of Lydia, the woman who sold purple fabric, which was rare, luxurious and expensive! So this was a woman of independent means, who about 10 years prior to the writing of this letter, met Paul as he was traveling, and upon hearing the Good News of Jesus, she believed and then opened her home to the rest of the new believers. The Philippians were able to send generous gifts of money and necessities to Paul while he was traveling and during his imprisonment. He had a special place in their hearts, and they in his. So Paul writes this letter to them to affirm his special feelings for them, despite his imprisonment and all the hardships he has faced over the years since he first met them.

And he prays for them. Knowing their hearts, knowing they are rooted in Christ, knowing they are praying for him, He prays that their love will grow, in knowledge of God. That they remember their roots and the deep love of God and that they continue to live it out, and do so even more than before! That they stay strong in the Love of Jesus and do what is right, by the teachings of scripture. He prays that they grow in mind, hearts, and souls, in the Love of God thru Jesus. Wow.
If while I was reading this passage, you had a sense that I am saying these things to YOU personally, you are absolutely right.  I know how deeply the people of this church Love God and are committed to reaching out into the community to share that love. And I do pray that we indeed continue and strive to grow in that love and outreach.

It’s a challenge sometimes. There is so much in the world that is not godly…so many people who are hurting and who may react poorly to any mention of God or Jesus. But we human beings, created by God to be in relationship with God and with each other are all connected, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not.

Author BrenĂ© Brown defines the word Spirituality as the recognition that We are all connected to each other …and that our connection … is grounded in love and compassion.

In her social research “the research participants discussing spiritual disconnection….described a diminishing sense of shared humanity. Over and over, participants talked about their concern that the only thing that binds us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect, or love.”

I have read other authors saying similar things. And I believe –no I KNOW—that we, people of faith, can help our culture get past this disconnection. And we must. A culture in which people are bound by fear and disdain, and even hatred, is a culture that WILL fail.
But when people are very intentional about practicing kindness and compassion we can and will prevail.

We do this by being thoughtful and thankful! Fredrick Buechner:
Jesus did not simply tell us that God loves us even in our failures, and wants us to love each other the same way and to love God too, but that if we will allow it to happen, God will actually bring about this unprecedented transformation of our hearts himself.

IF we remember Gods Love Endures Forever…if we remember Grace and Peace of Jesus Christ, IF we remember, keeping them in our hearts, we can live out that enduring love.
To remember is to bring back to the mind, to bring back to ourselves.

Remembrance--literally to again belong… to bring back to belonging together. To remember Gods love is to deliberately bring it back into our minds and hearts.

And when we hear “Do this in remembrance of me”, We re-member jesus, we bring Him back to our hearts and minds. And pray, thankfully, that he gave his all for us.

Jean Vanier: Jesus has chosen us to live his mission. He wants our hearts to be wellsprings of living water, loving people and helping them achieve their goals. Thus, when we announce the Good News to the poor, it is not to tell them, “Jesus loves you,” but rather to say, “I love you. I commit myself to you in the name of Jesus.”

  Let’s pray… God of enduring eternal love, Guide us to be thoughtful and mindful of you, re-membering Your Love as given thru Jesus Christ, that we may commit ourselves to you and thus give generously of Love and time and talent in the coming season. In Christ we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Short and sweet

This photo is of a "Burning Bush" (the proper name is Euonymus) outside the church building. The leaves are drooping, because we've had some frosty cold mornings. But the colors are still vivid and beautiful. 

Sometimes we think we can't serve God, because we're older, we have health issues or whatever. We may be too busy to add anything to the calendar. But just as the colors of this "droopy" bush shine, we can serve Our Lord. We can pray! One does not have to sit for a length of time to pray effectively. We can pray short prayers throughout the day as we see or hear of a need. Even a quick thought of "God help this person" is a powerful prayer! We can pray for friends and situations as we scroll through social media and news. We may text or email a loving thought to a friend. That's prayer too! 

This Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, remember that even a few moments of prayer and gratitude are multiplied when given to God. 

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you" -Philippians 1:3a

Friday, November 9, 2018

Prayer for Veterans November 9, 2018
Grinnell Hall Event

For much too long, our society at large has not been appreciative of you who served. And we recognize our abject failure to express our gratitude! So please, when you are thanked this Veterans Day weekend for your service, know that we acknowledge that failure,  our appreciation is sincere.
Let us pray,
Holy God of all, thank you for this opportunity to freely gather together, in recognition of those who have served our country, protecting our freedoms. These men and women gave generously of their time and energy. They have seen many give their lives to keep our nation safe and free. We are humbly grateful, dear Lord. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."  and we say thank you for that great love of our nation. Help heal the physical and emotional wounds that may linger for many of these veterans. Please continue to bless and guide these brave veterans who served so well. Lord, we ask that you Please help us civilians to always be grateful and kind to them! We also ask Your blessing and protection on those who serve today, in the reserves or active duty. Remind them that “those who hope in the Lord will have their strength renewed and fly on wings like an eagle.” Give their families protection and peace of heart as well, dear lord.
And we pray for our community, our country, and the world. That Your compassion and spirit of hope and unity prevail over any selfish motivations we may have. Guide our leaders to Godly answers that are for the greatest good.
Lord we pray all these things, and the very deepest prayers of our hearts, knowing that nothing in all creation can separate us from the Love of God thru Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.