A PERSONAL PRAYER
I love you. That is what you have asked of me, to love you with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. And so I do. I love you. Sometimes that love is hot and fiery, full of the emotion of passionate worship. Sometimes it is a more nitty gritty kind of love, like taking out the trash is a way of loving my wife, or buying a birthday gift is a way of loving my grandson. You have shared in your scripture that the love language you hear best is our service to other people.So God, I will offer you my love in that way as often as I can.
Sometimes, loving means hurting with others. We ache for the people of Santa Fe, for the students and teachers and families of those who were killed. We don’t know these people, but nonetheless our love for brothers and sisters in humanity means we long to share just a bit of their suffering. We search for some small way to be agents of healing, and ask for guidance as we discern how to stem the tide of violence of any sort in our community. We know the real answer is changed hearts, and that heart-change is something only you can do. Show us how we can be your instruments of transforming love in heart and culture.
Sometimes, loving means making a sacrifice. On this Memorial Day weekend, we stop and give thanks for those men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. For those of us who benefit from their sacrifice, we too often fail to connect the dots that our daily freedoms are a result of their willingness to live and die for us. For families and friends of those who have died, the loss is more than just a reminder of the cost of freedom, but rather a profound and ongoing absence that will only be assuaged in the church victorious. We lift up gratitude for their sacrifice, pray for their comfort and strength, and pray and long for the day when swords are beat into ploughshares.
So God, I love you, and I want to show you that love. Help me to see how to do so.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
One of the students killed in the Santa Fe shooting, Jarod Black, was a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Santa Fe. A scholarship fund has been set up in his name for students from that church, and St. Luke’s has contributed $5000 to that fund. If you would like to contribute additional funds as well, you can simply direct the money to the church and mark it in the memo line for the Jarod C. Black Scholarship Fund, or make the check out to TMF with the same designation in the memo line, and send it to the Texas Methodist Foundation, 11709 Boulder Lane, Austin, TX 78726.
Additionally, St. Luke’s will have a banner as part of the “Banners for Santa Fe” effort through Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston. This banner will be in the Fellowship Walk on this Sunday and next Sunday, for members of St. Luke’s to sign and then be delivered to Aldersgate UMC to let them know that when one suffers, we all share in their suffering.
This Sunday, May 27, we conclude our sermon series called “Keeping Your Amateur Status.” The word “amateur” comes from the French word meaning “lover.” Do you do what you do because you love it? Do you still approach life and others with passion? Or has life and relationship and faith become just a job for you? This week, May 27, we will discuss worship as an expression of our love to God. Is your faith “religion” or is it a relationship of love?
This upcoming week, beginning Sunday evening through Wednesday May 30, the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting in the Woodlands. Our clergy and lay delegates will be at the conference – worshipping together, praying together, hearing about the work of the church together, and discussing the ways the church can be a more faithful witness and participant in the work God is doing around us. On Tuesday night, at the ordination service, Billy McMahon, a former member of our staff, will be ordained. I invite you to pray for the conference as we gather over these days.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. –Deuteronomy 6:5
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION AND REFLECTION
What experiences help you get in touch with your love for God? What ways do you put your devotion into motion, expressing your love to God?
Sunday, May 27
Lord, surround us with your spirit of peace and guide us with your spirit of truth. Give us strength so that we may run this race with perseverance. Let us wholeheartedly strive for excellence in all that we do, showing love to everyone we meet so that by the fruits of our actions, people will know that we are your disciples. All honor and glory is yours. Amen.
Monday, May 28- Memorial Day
We pray, Lord, that you would provide safety for all of the men and women who are actively serving in the military. We thank you for the members of the military who have laid down their lives to protect us. We also pray God that you would bless their families with strength to carry on and with peace knowing that their sacrifice is appreciated. Thank you for all of those who have selflessly served this country. Amen.
Tuesday, May 29
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Wednesday, May 30
Heavenly Father, give us a spirit of cooperation and unity in you. Bring us all together so that we may each use our gifts and talents for your greater good. Bless us with opportunities to serve in your Kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Thursday, May 31
God, we pray that you would be with those who are struggling in their faith. Surround them with people who can testify to your love and draw them close to you again. Amen.
Friday, June 1 – Psalm 145:1-2
“I will extol you, my God and King; and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.”
Saturday, June 2 – Psalm 145:8-10
“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.”