A PERSONAL PRAYER
You know how I love to walk through old churches. When I walk these beautiful edifices, built to honor and glorify you, I am stunned by their beauty, the amazing architecture, the awe inspiring windows and sculpture. Except for the tourists, however, they would be rather empty. Few lives changed in the midst of them. Lots of going through the motions. Lots of familiar rituals that make people more comfortable. They seem to have, in the words of 2 Timothy, “the form of godliness, lacking its power.” But who am I to judge those churches? I need to look inside my own heart, at my own life, at my own work, at my own faith.
God, I confess to you today that I sometimes am all talk and no action. It is easy to stand and preach on Sundays, to give people answers to the “fill in the blanks” I have printed in their Bible study notebooks. I ask myself “should I make a statement about some issue in the world around me?” Too much lip flapping. Too little actually living by the values I proclaim.
I confess to you that too often, I make my decisions based on the cultural norms around me. I confess that I fit in pretty well with the community of which I am a part. How can I be different? How can I choose a way that runs counter to both sides of the cultural war that rages around me? How can I let my decisions be guided by the Jesus who loves both victim and victimizer, who heals both the daughter of Jairus the ruler and the ostracized woman with the hemorrhage, who embraces both the Roman Centurion and the promiscuous woman. If my salt has lost its saltiness, what is the point?
Forgive me, God, and show me how to take hold of the living truth, truth that transcends culture and applies to every age and context. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so you words in Scripture can be “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
In the name of that living Word, Jesus the Christ, I pray,
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Lenten Sermon Series and Study: These Bones Shall Live!
This week, we continue in week three of our series on Ezekiel. Over the last two weeks, we have discussed 1) how it is hard for us to hear the truth, and 2) how sometimes it feels like God has abandoned us. This week, we will ask ourselves if our faith makes us any different from the world around us, and consider what happened to Jerusalem when she was no longer useful to God or the world.
You can still join our Scripture + Shared Bible study, which also studies Ezekiel. The video lessons are team taught by Eric Huffman and me. You can do them alone on your Scripture + Shared app, or sign up for one of our Lenten Living in Faith Together (LIFT) groups here.
Invictus, by Howard Goodall
On Palm Sunday night, March 25, St. Luke’s Chancel Choir is presenting the world premiere of Invictus, by Howard Goodall, a “passion” in music, reflecting on the story of Jesus suffering and the cross in our world. St. Luke’s Friends of Music commissioned this work with funds from special gifts, and we are so privileged to have Mr. Goodall with us to conduct our choir and orchestra in the presentation. Goodall, from Great Britain, is an EMMY, BRIT and BAFTA award-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores. You can find more information here.
We have a number of opportunities you may want to be a part of for Lent and Easter this year. You can find it on the events tab of St. Luke’s new app (search St Lukes UMC Houston) or online at https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/easter/. You might check out the Lenten Path on the south lawn of the church at the purple bell banners on the lampposts. Our Easter Offering this year is Plant With Purpose, an organization that is doing some really cool things to fight poverty and empower people to provide for themselves around the world. Check it out here.
Sunday, March 4
Dear God, Let us model Jesus by showing faith in action, as the book of James exhorts us. We are called to serve the “least of these,” and most of the time we fall short. Help us to see every person as your child who is worthy of love and compassion. This may mean getting out of our comfort zones, but we must make the effort. Give us the wherewithal to put our faith to work in tangible ways. Amen.
-Prayer by Carol Brejot
Monday, March 5
Lord, I pray that you will bless my time, lead my priorities and guide me each moment of the day so that moments are not wasted away. Amen.
Tuesday, March 6
Loving God, you sent your only Son to teach us how to love our neighbor, and Jesus gave us the story of the Good Samaritan. Help us to stop what we are doing and take time to help whomever you place in our path today. Amen.
Wednesday, March 7
Heavenly Father, fill us with your love and compassion so that we may be moved into action. Help us to share your love with others, and help us to use our time and resources for your Kingdom work here on earth. Amen.
Thursday, March 8
Almighty God, sometimes when we look at the world, we can only see the bad things, and we begin to lose hope. Help us to keep our eyes on you; for with you, all things are possible. Amen.
Friday, March 9
Heavenly Father, we pray for the Mercy Kitchen at Gethsemane. Help us to feed those who are hungry physically and spiritually. We pray that you would provide their needs in amazing ways. Amen.
Saturday, March 10
Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you and that we need your forgiveness. Create in us a clean mind, a pure heart, and a sincere faith. Lead us back to your paths of righteousness so that we may enjoy the life that you have planned for us. Amen.
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