Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 20, 2016

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This past week has been challenging for our community and nation. We continue to see increasing division, and across our nation we have seen an increase in the reported incidents of hate crimes. Last Sunday in worship we saw a higher than average attendance and I have spoken to several of the people who joined us. Many have stated they sought out worship to seek answers for their sense loss and concern. Over the past two weeks St. Paul’s has been refuge to people hurting from loss and a place where people have come to seek hope for their lives.

As your pastor I have personally been in prayer and deep conversation to understand how we, people of faith, need to be present to those hurting in our community. This past week I have been with people who are scared for the future and unsure how to talk to their friends, family and neighbors who disagree with them. I have met with people in our community who have shared a gut-wrenching fear for their own well-being in this conflicted climate. Fear is pervasive in our culture right now. This brings me to deep concern because throughout history we have seen fear breed the worst kinds of behaviors.

In prayer I came across this passage of scripture. It seemed to fit this challenging time of deep division, concern for the future, and most certainly this climate of fear.

Romans 12:9-18 (Common English Bible)
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.

The quote you see attached to this letter is from Susan Henry-Crowe, she is the director of General Board of Church and Society. I invite you to use the quote and the scripture from Romans as a prayer tool. This week I invite us all into a time of prayer as we gather with family and friends. I would ask that we pray for those who voted a way we chose not to vote, to pray for those who are hurting and in pain, to pray we have the strength to help stop hate in our community, and to pray ultimately for hope in our own lives and in those that are struggling.

Please join me in prayer,

Pastor Tyler