St. Luke’s Family,
Beginning today, we will have 250 Red Cross workers sleeping at the church for a few days. We will do our best to show them the spirit of love in our church and whole city. I am amazed at all that I see God doing right here in our midst. In the midst of such difficult times, the goodness that is at the center of each of us, the “image of God” in which every one of us is created, shines through. Christian or non-Christian, atheist or agnostic or just plain confused – all of us respond to the need of desperate people when it is clear it could be us. Part of our job as the church is to help people see that in themselves. And, of course, when the emotion passes, the cameras are gone, and all that is left is mold, we will have the grit to stay focused on our mission to be one family in Jesus, putting faith to work in love.
I have been so anxious to be with you, for us all to be together again after this challenging week. We are planning a special service of worship on Sunday to give thanks for God’s constant presence in storms and sunshine, to pray for those who are hurting and organize to help, and to tell the people we love how much we love them. We are a people of hope, and we are always “prepared to give an account of the hope that is within us.” (1 Peter 3:15) Come and join us this Sunday, and bring friends who need to hear the good news. Traditional services in the Sanctuary on our Westheimer Campus are at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 a.m. Encounter Contemporary service is at 8:45 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall and modern worship at The Story Houston is 9:45 and 11:05 a.m. and 5 p.m. At our Gethsemane Campus on Bellaire, we have traditional worship at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. Break Bread community potluck meal and contemporary worship called “The Belonging” at 11 a.m. It will be a great day. If you can’t be with us in person, join us on livestream in one of our three traditional Westheimer services.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
It is hard to find the words to pray, sometimes. You tell us in scripture that you, the Holy Spirit, will intercede for us and turn our sighs and groans into prayers. There have been times this week that we have groaned. But we are moved by the love we see shared in concrete ways. We are gratified by the unity we see in our city. We are so grateful for the hard work of the first responders, the coast guard, the police, the national guard, the firefighters, the hospital workers, assisted living staffers, and so many more who left their families for days so they could serve a city in need. We are overwhelmed by the support from around the country, people who have driven miles to bring supplies or rescue people in boats. And the volunteers… What can we say for people who care and want to help so very much.
God, we lift up to you now those who have no place to live, or whose homes are destroyed. We lift up those who grieve the loss of loved ones. We pray for all those for whom this is not simply a challenging week, but the beginning of a long and difficult journey. God, look into our hearts, and sort out the mishmash of feelings and prayers, and receive them as offerings to you. Show us how to serve the people you love so much.
In the name of Christ, we pray,
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it. –Acts 28:2
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What do you think is the church’s unique role is difficult times? Do you have grit in focusing on that mission long-term?
Sunday, September 3
Lord, please help me to hear your wise whispers in my ear and act on the voice of courage and wisdom that you speak to me. Amen.
Monday, September 4 – Labor Day
God, we thank you for the gifts and talents that you have bestowed upon us that allow us to work and care for our families. We thank you for the opportunity to work, and we thank you for this holiday and time to rest from our work. Amen.
Tuesday, September 5
God, we pray for healing today, for those who are sick either physically or mentally. Wash them with your healing touch that they might glorify your name to others. Jesus we pray for a healing miracle today. Amen.
Wednesday, September 6
Dear Heavenly Father, We lift up all your children who are students. Give them focus and a good attitude, and surround them with friends who will lift them up and make them better people. May they shine Your light into their world, and see Your light in others as well. Bless their teachers, staff, and administrators with patience, kindness, understanding and discernment. Lastly, we ask that you continue to extend your loving grace to all the parents and remind us that we are all your beloved children whom you love oh-so-much, even on the bad days. May all our efforts give glory to Your kingdom. In your Son’s most precious name we pray, Amen. -Prayer by Louise McEvoy
Thursday, September 7
Father, Teach me to take up words of grace toward everyone and to overlook the spiteful words. Teach me to love even when things go wrong and to rejoice when someone gets what I thought I needed. May I be open to learn what you are trying to teach me and patient and kind when I am tired. Above all – Thank you for your never ending grace, love and patience. In the Holy and precious name of Jesus, Amen. -Prayer by Sondra Koenig
Friday, September 8
Heavenly Father, please guide our thoughts, our lips and our actions in the ways of peace. May all we think, do and say reflect your love for all your children. We pray for those in positions of power and leadership that they may set aside their agendas and focus their minds and hearts on your direction, so that our world may know true brotherhood, unity and peace. Amen.
Saturday, September 9
God, bless each one of us with strength and peace in our hearts. When we see things that make us angry or sad on the news, give us the wisdom to love others like you do, to be motivated by the things that motivate you. Then, God, use us for the transformation of this world. Amen.
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