Doing what is right

Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Tom Pace lll, Senior Pastor St. Lukes UMC, Sr Pastor St Lukes

Our inside-out habits: We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.

A PERSONAL PRAYER

God of all people,

The world is full of complicated problems. How can I know what is right? I seek to be guided by the life and character of your son Jesus, and his teachings. But applying them to our world today is not easy, and I need the Holy Spirit, whom you sent us in Jesus’ name to “teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said.” (John 14:26) Today, God, let your Holy Spirit remind me and all of your son’s followers of the teachings of Jesus as we live in this complicated world.

This week, I was moved once again by the plight of those who seek to bring their families to be a part of our country. Among the thousands of immigrants, it seems most are people who just want a better life. They may be fleeing violent cultures, or persecution, or simply wanting the benefits of the economic opportunity our country affords. They have taken a step of courage or desperation to make the journey here. God, I suspect I would do the same thing, in their shoes. And then when I hear that children are separated from families, my heart breaks, and my mind and your teaching tells me it is just wrong. I pray again today for those mothers and fathers, and especially for the children. Give them safety and peace, and help them to know the way forward. Give them the resources and the people they need to make the right decisions. I pray that, in our polarized times, you would speak to the hearts and minds of our leaders, and that they would find a way to put their politics aside and bring a real solution to this terrible problem. You have told us that the face of that immigrant mother or father, boy or girl, is your face, and that when we welcome them, we welcome you. God, I know there are no easy answers… Does that mean we simply open our borders to all comers, that welcoming the stranger means no limits? That doesn’t seem wise either. Our leaders need your guidance, God. All of us need your direction. Help us to use our minds as well as our hearts, our judgement and our compassion, and tune us in to your Holy Spirit, that we might know what is right.

God, I confess that often, I make the Bible say what I want it to say. I am not so much led by Holy Scripture, but I let my own prejudices and perspectives drive how I understand the words I am reading. You commanded us not to take your name in vain, and use it for our own agendas and purposes. God forgive me! Forgive me when I let my own ideology guide my understanding of you, rather than my understanding of you guide my thinking in all things, public and private.

God, even when I know what is right, I don’t manage to do it. Like so much of the world, I find myself talking much and doing little. Even on the things that your son made crystal clear, I can’t seem to follow through. He calls his followers to be generous to a fault, but I am too often stingy. He calls us to forgive, but instead I can’t seem to let it go. Too often, I run my mouth trying to make a point, when you call us instead to make a difference. Show me how to speak less and do more, to put feet on my beliefs and my compassion.

In the name and character of Jesus, I pray,

Amen.

SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE

We have received, over the last two weeks, more calls about how to be involved in outreach to immigrant families than we have about anything since Hurricane Harvey. Below are some of our partner organizations that are involved in providing support to these families.

This Sunday, June 24, we continue our sermon series called “How to Pray the Psalms.” What does it mean to “live a good life”? How do we know what we are called to do and how we are called to live in our complicated world? How do the Psalms help us understand the wisdom of God? Come join us as we discuss the psalms of wisdom this Sunday.

I hope you will follow our summer devotionals on the go with our Scripture + Shared App. Scripture + Shared is offering weekly video messages from clergy and daily devotionals based on the Psalms. Ask a friend to be your Bible Buddy and join you! You can find out more information at StLukesMethodist.org/bible, or download the Scripture+Shared app by searching for “scripture shared” in your app store.

PRAYER CALENDAR

Sunday, June 10 – Psalm 31:3-5

You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

Monday, June 11 – Psalm 65:1-4

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed, O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come. When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions. Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.

Tuesday, June 12 – Psalm 8:1-2

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

Wednesday, June 13 – Psalm 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Thursday, June 14 – Psalm 16:1-2

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.

Friday, June 15 – Psalm 16:8

I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Saturday, June 16 – Psalm 16:9-11

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit. You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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2018-06-22T08:21:51-05:00June 22nd, 2018|All blogs, Inside-Out with Dr. Tom Pace|0 Comments

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