Dear Church Family,
For two weeks the news has been dominated by the crisis in Charlottesville. We hope and pray that the preaching and teaching of our church has never been driven by current events, but is always applicable to current events. The good news of scripture transcends history and cultures, but is relevant to all times and all places. So then, we ask ourselves: what is the scripture beacon that guides us through these murky, dangerous waters? In turning to the words of Jesus, here is our Charlottesville prayer.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
And since you have called us Your children, children who bear Your name, help us to live up to the name we bear. Help us to live to a higher standard; one established by Your precepts. Take us beyond our collective views of morality to a standard that is reflective of Your sacred name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
May love infuse our rhetoric. May grace guide our responses. May courage inspire our actions. Help us to constructively call out sin, first in ourselves and then in the actions around us, so that the hindrances to Your kingdom will be removed.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
May we feast on Your forgiveness, and then share that feast with others. May we savor the flavor of the bread of Your grace; may it break our pride and arrogance so that we might become a vessel of forgiveness that will feed the hunger of thousands of others.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We are tempted to yell at what we perceive are the evils in others while avoiding or ignoring the evil in ourselves. As painful as it might be, Lord, expose and deliver us from our own shameful bigotry, our gender biases that we conveniently ignore, our racist thoughts that we quickly justify, our arrogant consumption that harms others, our lustful tendencies that we think are hidden, and our convenient silence that leaves the hurting isolated and alone. Deliver us from our own evil and lead us to a better place. Please turn our fear into faith, our tears into trust and our anger into action.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Thank you for the privilege of living in this country, but remind us regularly that we are first and forever citizens of Your kingdom. Take away power from those who misuse or abuse it, and take away influence from those who seek their own glory. Help us to use the power You have entrusted to us to glorify You and honor others.
We are deeply grateful to live life with you. We will continue to pray together, ask hard questions, and discern God's wisdom, as we seek to be people who embody consistent, faithful Christian witness.
Your Pastoral Staff
Dee, Shelle, Melissa, & Matt