Today, more than ever, the church must be nurtured and nudged by the kind of prayer that is embodied by Jesus’ parable of the “Widow and the Unjust Judge” (our Gospel text for this coming Sunday, from Luke 18:1-8) – a prayer that is personally engaged, persevering, and courageous, especially in the face of evil and injustice. But as well, as witnessed by St. Paul in our Second Lesson for this Sunday (II Timothy 3:14 – 4:5) – as he “fans the flames of faith” in his young protégé, Timothy – we also come to understand that prayer requires the daily stewardship and support of fellow members of Christ’s ongoing body in the world. That is, our whole lives together with the whole congregation, as we gather ‘round the guiding spirit of Holy Scripture (cf. II Timothy 3:14-17). And so, prayer is a personal calling upon God, yes; but it is also a calling upon the collective strength of All in the Family – folding our hands together.
On this upcoming Consecration Sunday, I encourage you to be at worship with your whole extended family of faith … among the “priesthood of all believers” of First Lutheran Church … as we bring our pledges before God with joy and thanksgiving, in support of strengthened ministry and mission in the upcoming year: celebrating First Lutheran’s 100th Anniversary! Let us be mindful that we can do so much more together than we could ever do alone – with Christ at the center.
I’m especially pleased that our Director of Music, Zachary Brockhoff and Dr. Paul Nesheim of Augustana’s Music Department, will be sharing a “sermon in song” from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, entitled “Simple Song.” This exquisitely moving song, based on our Psalm for this weekend (Psalm 121), comes from the 2nd movement of Bernstein’s Mass, called the Oremus – which means “Let us pray.” Yes, let us pray …
“We give thee but thine own,
What-e’er the gift may be; All that we have is thine alone;
A trust, O Lord, from thee.” (ELW #686)