September 25, 2006

Looking Ahead to October 1, 2006 -- Worldwide Communion Sunday, 17th After Pentecost

The Scripture readings this week are:

  • Psalm 124 (VU p. 848)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: James 5:13-20
  • From the Gospel: Mark 11:20-25

The Hymns this week are:

  • 457 As We Gather at Your Table
  • 245 Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet
  • 664 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  • 468 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

This Sunday we will also hear a Presbytery report from Elvin, Christina and Josh.

The Sermon is titled Why Pray?

Early Thoughts: There are so many things that we need to do on any given day. There are so few spare moments. There is always some other demand on our time. Why pray? Why take time out to do something that appears so terribly unproductive as pray?

This summer I used a week of study leave to go on a retreat. During that time I met with a Spiritual Director. As I was talking about feeling drained and tired (she suggested having three children 3 and under might contribute to that--you think?) she asked how often I took time to reconnect to the Source. To be honest, fairly little, not enough most likely. Why pray? Because prayer time is where we set ourselves aside from the world to connect with the One in who we live and move and have our being. Prayer is what can empower us to go forward.

When we don't take time to reconnect and re-establish our relationship with God, then God becomes more distant. (Really this isn't all that surprising -- what happens when you don't talk to a friend for a long time?) When we set aside time to pray, to be in conversation with the Holy we can build a relationship that is tested and tried. Prayer is vital to our spiritual health, just as food and water are for our physical health.

In his epistle James says Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them. In his writings Paul talked about praying without ceasing. WE pray because we know we need God in our lives. We pray because we know we can't do it alone. Why pray? Harder to argue why NOT pray. The challenge simply is to make it a priority, to take "unproductive time" and build ourselves for the productive time (besides who is to define what makes some things productive and others unproductive anyway?).

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