July 14, 2016
for Sunday, July 24
Much like the disciples, we too need to be taught how to pray. Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard, often or sincerely we pray, nothing happens. I imagine that like Ray and me, many of you frequently pray for peace in our violent, devastated, mixed-up world. What do we see as a result? The other shoe seems to drop as we hear of yet another police officer being killed.
Here are a few thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer and the verses that follow it. Jesus was praying (v. 1). This was habitual for our Lord. He didn’t pray only when things were going well or when there was trouble. Secondly, Jesus said, “When you pray” (v. 2), not “if”. It is expected that followers of Jesus will pray.
Jesus prayed because of his relationship with the Father. He had an intimate relationship with him. Like Jesus, we pray for the coming of God’s kingdom, when all tears are wiped away, when there is a final end to the death and destruction of our earth.
“Give us each day our daily bread.” We cannot live on yesterday’s blessings. The “give” in Greek is actually “give” and “keep giving us”. Daily we ask for God’s blessings and daily we give thanks for them.
Later, Jesus instructs his disciples to ask, search and knock. EVERYONE who asks receives. EVERYONE who searches finds and EVERYONE who knocks will have the door opened.
In last week’s gospel, we heard the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus visited them. The two sisters symbolize two traits of the Christian life. Mary represents listening to God (in prayer). Martha symbolizes those who take action. We can say that Mary is “being” and Martha is “doing”. We cannot have one in our Christian lives and not the other.
This is what I’m thinking about concerning Sunday’s gospel. I would love your input. Please call or email me with any thoughts you may have.
[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
***Thank you to all of the volunteers (and those purchasing food) who made the fund-raising booth a success at the Scandinavian Festival!
***The deadline to submit information for the August Church Mouse is Monday, July 25th.
*** Pastor Ivy and Ray Gauvin have a new year-round mailing address: P. O. Box 43, Bemus Point, NY 14712
***You are invited to attend the service of ordination for Tara Lamont Eastman, marking her journey in becoming a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The service takes place in her home church, First Lutheran Church, 120 Chandler St., Jamestown on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Worship begins at 2:00 pm. A light reception will follow the service in the parlors of First Lutheran Church and is hosted by Tree of Life Parish.
***The Hope Fest will be held in downtown Jamestown on Third St. between N. Main and Pine on Saturday, July 30th from 12 pm-9 pm. This is a free day with family activities, kids games, music, food (suggested donations) and a lot of hope! Their theme verse is Psalm 31:24, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all who wait for the Lord.” All donations raised will go to benefit the domestic abuse shelter.
***A young Christian artist will present the evening concert at Chautauqua on Friday, July 29:
“Britt Nicole comes to shine on the Emerging Artist Series, and your church is invited! Youth groups and congregations are encouraged to join in this inspirational evening at Chautauqua Institution.
***ELCA presiding bishop issues statement on police shootings
CHICAGO (July 20, 2016) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has released a statement in response to the shootings in Baton Rouge, La., and Dallas that killed eight police officers.
Eaton’s statement follows:
My soul is bereft of peace: I have forgotten what happiness is. (Lamentations 3:17)
Too often in the past months we have been stunned by violence. Last Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., and earlier this month in Dallas, police were the target. Many in our congregations serve in law enforcement. These are our brothers and sisters, children of God who dedicate their lives to keeping our communities safe, who risk their lives for strangers.
Acts of violence, at home and abroad, are all too frequent. Each is evidence of a broken world. Lutherans understand this and believe that the state has the authority and obligation to protect its citizens. Good government and peace are among the things we ask for when we pray “Give us today our daily bread.”
Not all citizens have the same experience with law enforcement. We are working on that as a nation and a church. But the targeting and assassination of police officers is a threat to all of us. Nothing is solved by this violence.
Working in law enforcement is an honorable way to live one’s baptismal vocation. Many of us know police who are members of our congregations. They serve with dedication to the common good even at the risk of their lives. Police and other first responders see the best and the worst of human nature, and they do that on your behalf and mine.
Officers killed in the line of duty leave behind families, comrades and friends. We continue to hold those who mourn in our prayers. But a little bit of us has died too. “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (I Corinthians 12:26).
Although broken, our world is also a redeemed one. God’s answer to hatred and violence is the love and life revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Christ, God reconciles the world to God’s self. We are called to that ministry of healing and reconciliation in our hearts, in our homes and in our communities. God is ever faithful. We are held as one people in God’s love and that love will never let us go.
But this I call to mind, and therefore have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning … . (Lamentations 3:21-23)
In Christ’s peace,
Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For victims of violence and their families in all places
· For Eleanor Bergeson Orman, Helen Cogliano, Chris Ziemba, John Bylund, Joanne Aron, Adam Hull, Pastor John Klatt, JoLynn Stearns, Scott Stearns, Zachary Frazier, Todd Reel, Maj-Britt Traynor, Gerald Ayers, Matt Isaacson, Sandra Kelderhouse, Thom Shagla, Ralph Prieur, Mary Anne, Ryan Samuelson,
· For people serving in the military and their families, those caught up in war who have no safe home in which to live.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.