No sermon to post this week, since I was a liturgist in the traditional services. It’s funny: I’m in the traditional service so infrequently that I often forget or fail to remember how things are done exactly in this particular church (for example, on Communion Sundays the Lord’s Prayer is sung). I told someone about this challenge, and my resolve not to make any liturgical mistakes. I promise these words came out of my mouth: “I’ll try not to trip over the furniture.”
So what did I do? I literally tripped! Not over the furniture, but on my robe! In the 8:30 service, as I was standing up from leading the children’s sermon, I stepped on the inside edge of my robe and fell. Very embarrassing, but I recovered with a quip (“We don’t wear robes in Vinebranch!”) and took the inevitable teasing from Don with good humor. (Larisa has more practice at this than I do.)
Do you like reading prayers? If so, here is my pastoral prayer from Sunday:
Almighty God, who is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine: We give you our thanks and praise for your tender and merciful love. We haven’t known a moment of life that was not infused with your grace. By your grace, we possess this gift of life, this breath we take, this heartbeat; by your grace we have been cared for, loved, and nurtured by parents, grandparents, other relatives, and friends; by your grace we have been inspired by teachers and mentors to be our best selves; by your grace we experience friendship and love; by your grace we have been brought into a saving relationship through the life death, and resurrection of your Son Jesus; by your grace we find our heart’s deepest desires met in you; and by your grace we find fulfillment, peace, and joy as you graciously enable us to take part in your mission in the world.
Everything we have is from you. Everything we are is because of you. Root out the sin in our lives that so easily prevents us from being grateful; that causes us to feel insecure and afraid; that prevents us from trusting in you in everything. During this stewardship season, enable us to do your will—to give faithfully in response to your countless gifts—that people in our community, country, and world may also experience your gift of eternal and abundant life.
We lift up in our hearts your universal Church all around the world; make it faithful to your mission. We lift up this nation, the President, Congress, and the courts, and our soldiers who are in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq. Inspire all people of good will to work for peace with justice in this world. We also bring before you our own concerns for family friends, and ourselves. Give us the grace, love, healing, and peace that we need. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who taught us this prayer: [Pray Lord's Prayer].