Sunday, February 22, 2015

For Lenten Prayers...

OUR PRAYERS for the First Sunday in Lent gather before you, our all-loving and everlasting God, petitioning in fervent prayer for all people everywhere according to their needs.
 Almighty God, through your Spirit remind us constantly that you are with us as we face trials, temptations and fears of life in this world. We thank you for the perfect example of love poured out given by your Son, Jesus Christ. We give thanks for the many saints throughout history who remained faithful and trusted in you. May we also learn to turn to you and trust you without doubt. Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayer.
 Gracious God, as we enter this time of repentance and reflection, send your Spirit to be with us each day as we learn from our past and forge ahead in the coming days. Help us appreciate the gifts that you have given us every day. May we recognize that all which is good comes from you. Help us put those blessings to work to share your love and glorify you.
 Spirit Divine, we pray for leaders in our communities and all the nations of the world. Guide them by the Word in both Law and Gospel as they carry out their duties. May their decisions, words and actions further your plan of salvation and bring justice to your children.
 Eternal Savior, we thank you for people who choose lives of service, especially members of our military. Be with them and their families as they strive to protect others. Allow them to live securely in you until the day of eternal peace.
 Heavenly Father, we ask your blessings upon your church universal. May we bring honor and glory to you through preaching, worship, teaching and service.
 Loving God, through your Spirit comfort your people who are hurting today. Grant healing to those who are ill, in pain, hungry or cold, and lift up all who live in sadness and despair.
 We especially ask your blessings today upon our friend Marilyn Elliot, who now rests in a Florida hospital after hip surgery. Be present also with Pastor Christopher Hershman, a brother and worker in the faith who needs physical healing after back surgery. Lastly, we offer up the well-being of our sister, Sherry Anderson. Be with her and her husband Lennie as you provide healing, for she travels this week for diagnostics and possible foot surgery. We pray that you would empower the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who work with her, and each of these we have brought before you.
 Eternal Protector, we pray for those around the world who are persecuted for their faith. Protect and comfort them with your presence. Grant them continued strength. Remind them in every moment that you are steadfastly with them. Encourage them through your Holy Spirit. Use us as well, Alpha and Omega, as we take up the cause of accomplishing rescuing love for those of the Coptic church. Let us assist them and others who suffer for the faith unto terror, torture and death. May their recent, individual witnesses made during death echo across the land… may they be heard loudly even unto the day when all of your demonic enemies are brought to defeat. Pour out your Spirit on those who are grieving the loss of these loved ones. Remind us that in you we who perish as baptized into your Holy Church, which is the Body of Christ, have the promise of eternal life. As we gather we thank you for each one of the saints who through faith has touched our lives.

 Gracious Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we commend to you all for whom we pray, trusting in your constant love and mercy for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Evil Enough?

WE FIND that Christians are caught in a decision time.... a kairos time! No,  it's not about whether to accept Jesus Christ as Savior, for Christians indeed have already placed their hopes and future in God's providence through Christ. But as a leader of the church, I give voice as a member and leader of the Body of Christ that is known as the wider church.
 As many have noted recently, the issue of Islamic extremism has garnered a large share of the news, and has now eaten up several precious golf outing days for our US leader. What are we then, in the world governed by both Church and State, to do concerning the sinful human tragedy that now unfolds before our eyes. The scriptures speak of such decision times. To consider my position on this matter, please go to...

 If the dialog you find upsets in the reading, so be it. But please know that as Lutherans following in the footsteps of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I believe it is far past time for overt action.

To address this murderous travesty, please write, phone or e-mail...
For Pennsylvania:

393 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6324

248 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4254

For the United States:

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111

For those who wish, please feel free to use this the text of this letter...

Dear Sir;
I respectfully bring to your attention the plight of Christians, some noted as Coptic by tradition, who are caught in the geographic theater of strife caused by ISIS/ISIL and other Islamic extremists. As an American citizen and a participant within the Christian church, I recall that this nation has demonstrated a proud and worthy history of coming to the aid of those unjustly persecuted.
 Therefore, I ask that you take immediate legislative action within our elected government to rescue such victims. Provide persons persecuted, whether Christian or Muslim, with necessary military relief, arms and munitions to defend their existence.
With regards…
                                                                                      Blessings.. Pastor Tom