“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together…” Hebrews 10:23,24
I miss you, my St Paul Lutheran Church family. I miss seeing your faces and hearing your voices as we worship together on Sunday mornings. I miss shaking your hands and looking into your eyes as we greet each other with these words, “The peace of the Lord be with you.” I miss the joy I feel when the young people who serve as acolytes, walk through the midst of us carrying the cross. I miss the time when we stand together to hear the gospel message and those of you who have strong voices and courage stand in front of the rest of us sowing the words of the living God over us. I miss the musicians who give generously of their time and gifts to lead us in worship. I miss all the reminders about who I am in Christ embedded in the liturgy. I miss being stirred to action by Pastor Brian’s anointed messages. I miss the unity we share together as believers when we all participate in the Sacraments. Most of all, I miss the prayers we pray together, for therein lies the power to effect change in our own souls, in our families, in our communities and in our nation.
One of the enemy’s deceptions is that prayer is nothing more than a ineffective devotional exercise in which pious, well-meaning people engage when they are cultivating some private agenda with the Almighty, but for people in “the real world” the way to get things done is by committee, or by a public relations campaign. This is a lie. The truth is…prayer is a power sharing device God has worked out for the body of Christ to fulfill its call to be ministers of reconciliation in “the real world.”
“Do not be anxious for anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
“The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
The work of prayer “un-selfs” us. Prayer can open our eyes and ears and hearts to truly love others. Prayer can lead us to political action. Prayer can create social energy. Prayer can generate public good. I would submit to you that far more of our nation’s life is shaped by prayer than is formed by legislation.
In Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s famous sermon to America, delivered in 1978 he said, “We have placed too much hope in politics and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.” “All the celebrated technological achievements of progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century’s moral poverty. We need a spiritual blaze.”
Here’s my invitation to you, my St Paul church family. Let’s be that “spiritual blaze.” Let’s be a light to our families and community during this unsettling time. Lets come together in ways that comply with common sense and state mandates for reducing the spread of this current pestilence. We can still encourage one another toward love and good deeds. We can be faithful about praying together for our households, our neighbors, our elderly, our health care workers and first responders, our county and our nation.
Church office phone: 515-462-4270
Church office email: StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies: 605-351-0867