Our Prayer of Lament - February 15, 2018
February 15, 2018
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more." (Jer. 31:15)
Unbelievable. Unspeakable. Shock.
Our nation prays with the families of Parkland, Florida, in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The unanswerable questions of "why", "how", and "could it have been prevented", do nothing to alleviate the sudden horror unleashed upon these innocent children. No attempt on our part will help to explain the evil in our world. Once more we see the spirit of Herod and the Death of Innocents. In this moment, we know our world is broken and far outside the Love and Will of God.
Any attempt to speak of the mystery of suffering and evil during this Lenten Season will prove to be unsatisfying. Personally, I wish Jesus had said, "Come unto me and I will spare you from these things." But He didn't. Instead He said, "I am with you always." How we need the assurance of His presence now! How we need to hear him say once more, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
Our nation is focused on all the people impacted at this moment: parents, grandparents, family members, those who served these children lunch at school every day, bus drivers, neighbors, and the list goes on. We find ourselves praying for them. I invite each of our churches to pause during their worship services this Sunday in prayer for those who have been impacted most directly from this act of violence.
Almighty God “turn to us, and be gracious to us; for we are lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of our heart, and bring us out of our distresses. Consider our affliction and our trouble, and forgive all our sins.” (Psalm 25:16-18). Can this moment be transformed by God? Seven weeks ago we celebrated the good news that “God is with us,” and today we reaffirm this even in this unspeakable moment.
We know God does not desire evil and hurt, yet when it comes we need to be guided in what to do. And so I continue to pray Psalm 25 as an expression of my confession, need, and desire to act: “To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in thee I trust…Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths…Be mindful of thy mercy, O Lord.”
But first we cry.
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at email@example.com.