Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
God of unfailing Love,
We come before you on this day with thankful and joyous hearts because your love knows no bounds. No boundaries, limits, or obstacles—including those of our own making—can thwart your loving kindness from following us all the days of our lives.
Yet during this week, your story of passion mirrors to us how we have tested your love and spurned your compassion. You find no abiding place in those who welcome you in God’s name during this week; you are welcomed with short-lived praise and soon-aborted allegiance.
We kneel before you in awe of the Mystery of your faithfulness. We kneel before you with confession, acknowledging our complicity with friends and enemies alike who through the ages have disowned you through our words and actions. We kneel before you in gratitude, forever thankful that even during passion week your love held strong.
As we enter into Holy Week brace us with fortitude and gratitude and with the assurance that you are with us, world without end. Amen. Rev. Thomas Hall
What a wonderful illustration of the great divide. This delightful cartoon tells the story of one of my favorite quotes.
“The distance between us and the poor is the distance between us and God.”
A church that is happy and taking its ease during these times is a church that doesn’t comprehend the love of God, or the gospel of Jesus Christ. And any Christian leader that isn’t outraged at our government’s treatment of the poor and marginalized needs to wake up and pay attention.
Most of us will never be in a position to give $11 million to help those in need. But everyone of us can provide hope to someone. We can all be heroes of hope.There are thousands, even millions, of ways to demonstrate the love of God to those around us. A word of encouragement can change a person’s life forever.
Helping our neighbors begins with caring enough to act. Kindness is in short supply these days. Smile more, and look for opportunities to put love into action. Providing hope for even one person is helping nudge the world in the right direction.
Become a hero of hope. The world needs more heroes.
One of the messages scrolling across the digital signboard of Forest Road United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia proclaims:
“Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read.”
Hopefully, the message those people read is one of faithfulness and love, where the grace and compassion of Christ is freely given and available to all.
We have entered a time in the life of our nation when faithfulness to the Gospel is about to “get real” as they say. The chasm between patriotism and discipleship is growing ever wider. Executive orders are being issued daily that are in direct opposition to the values of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel lesson for this morning is Matthew 5:1-12. It’s the Sermon on the Mount, also known as the Beatitudes. As I have struggled to prepare a meaningful sermon for my small and aging congregation I have tried to be open to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I could not stop the tears on seeing this teeshirt, Jesus as a refugee again brought home the ugly reality of authoritarian rhetoric being enacted into law.
I know that Jesus promises to bless us, I know that Jesus teaches us to live lives of love, mercy, nonviolence and compassion. The issue I am grappling with now is how to demonstrate that in a nation that is bowing down to one who ignores, even flaunts Christ’s example and teachings.
I know WWJD. What truly frightens me, is that I also know WWDD. The two are diametrically opposed.
I have committed myself to following the man from Nazareth. That means I cannot follow BLOTUS. I am truly saddened that many of my congregation are not able to make the same choice.
For eight years we have been blessed with a scandal-free First Family. I, for one, will miss President Obama’s quiet dignity and deep strength in the face of all the hatred and opposition he faced from the moment he took the oath of office.
History will bear record to his accomplishments. He has exemplified true servant leadership and has led our nation with intelligence, wit, humor and true humility.
We now enter a new era where the new leader of our nation thrives on lies and scandals, cannot communicate a clear thought and reeks of racism, xenophobia and bigotry. I, along with most of the world, am holding my breath as the United States begins a perilous journey led by an ego larger than the nation, itself.
Farewell, President Obama, and God bless you. You are already missed.