Evening Prayer-January 13, 2021

Since people don’t seem to read blogs anymore I have no idea if anyone is reading this particular blog. I wanted to start posting some of the daily prayer videos I’ve been doing from my church. If you are looking for something to help you with prayer, check out the Midweek Vespers. In these crazy days, we need some time to pray to God because we need it. We really need it.

A Prayer for Those Affected By Hurricane Sandy

From Scot McKnight:

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be served but to serve: Bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may minister in his Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Constitutional Amendments and the Church

This fall, Minnesotans will go to the polls to vote on two constitutional amendments.  The first one would ban same-sex marriage and the second one would require photo ids before a person could vote.

Now I have my own opinions on the amendments and I’m not shy about sharing them (I’m strongly against the first and somewhat in favor of the second).  However, when it comes to the context of church and in my role as a pastor, I am less comfortable in telling people how they should feel on this issue, let alone how they should pray.

Recently, during a time when prayers were being offered, someone asked prayers on both amendments and stated their viewpoint.  It was a little bit uncomfortable for me, mainly because the prayer focused on one side of the issue and because I knew there might be folks that had differing opinions on both issues.

Normally I would say something about how we are the Body of Christ and that at the communion table we are a diverse bunch but united together in Christ.  I would say something about how churches have people from all walks of life and we need to be aware how to be church amidst the differences.

I would say all of this…but in these polarizing times, I’ve come to believe that we don’t even see the church as a place where different people come together.  Churches are becoming like everything else in society: filled with people who tend to agree with each other.  So maybe it wasn’t so odd to see someone stating their views on a political issue as if there were no other folks who might disagree; they might believe that church is just “for us.”
I’m not advocating that we never talk about politics in the church.  But is there a way to talk about these issues without claiming that God is only on our side?

I don’t know the answer to that.

Constitutional Amendments and the Church

This fall, Minnesotans will go to the polls to vote on two constitutional amendments.  The first one would ban same-sex marriage and the second one would require photo ids before a person could vote.

Now I have my own opinions on the amendments and I’m not shy about sharing them (I’m strongly against the first and somewhat in favor of the second).  However, when it comes to the context of church and in my role as a pastor, I am less comfortable in telling people how they should feel on this issue, let alone how they should pray.

Recently, during a time when prayers were being offered, someone asked prayers on both amendments and stated their viewpoint.  It was a little bit uncomfortable for me, mainly because the prayer focused on one side of the issue and because I knew there might be folks that had differing opinions on both issues.

Normally I would say something about how we are the Body of Christ and that at the communion table we are a diverse bunch but united together in Christ.  I would say something about how churches have people from all walks of life and we need to be aware how to be church amidst the differences.

I would say all of this…but in these polarizing times, I’ve come to believe that we don’t even see the church as a place where different people come together.  Churches are becoming like everything else in society: filled with people who tend to agree with each other.  So maybe it wasn’t so odd to see someone stating their views on a political issue as if there were no other folks who might disagree; they might believe that church is just “for us.”

I’m not advocating that we never talk about politics in the church.  But is there a way to talk about these issues without claiming that God is only on our side?

I don’t know the answer to that.

Prayer and the Public Sphere

From Professor John Stackhouse:


Evangelical Christians have been complaining about not being included in
various commemorations of 9/11, whether in New York City, Washington,
D.C., or even here in Canada. But we shouldn’t be…

…Prayer in public secular events is like holding up a photograph of your
mother and saying, “I’ve got Mom on speakerphone now, so let’s all tell
Mom how much we love her as our mother and how we hope she’s proud of us
for what we’ve done at university/work/war.” People would look at each
other and then at you and think, “You’re crazy. She’s not our mother,
and we didn’t do it for her.”

Evangelical Christians of all people shouldn’t agree to pray at public
events such as 9/11 services. Prayer is too great to be sprinkled on a
secular occasion. That’s why I’m against formal prayers also in North
American legislatures, city councils, school boards, and the like. These
institutions, from start to finish, have no intention of conducting
their business “under God,” with constant reference to the Bible and
Christian tradition, seeking the Kingdom of Heaven in all they do. So it
dishonours God to drag God in for a token celebrity appearance at
ceremonies for institutions that otherwise ignore God all the rest of
the time.

Read the whole thing.  (And yes, I do agree with him.)

Prayer and the Public Sphere

From Professor John Stackhouse:

Evangelical Christians have been complaining about not being included in various commemorations of 9/11, whether in New York City, Washington, D.C., or even here in Canada. But we shouldn’t be…

…Prayer in public secular events is like holding up a photograph of your mother and saying, “I’ve got Mom on speakerphone now, so let’s all tell Mom how much we love her as our mother and how we hope she’s proud of us for what we’ve done at university/work/war.” People would look at each other and then at you and think, “You’re crazy. She’s not our mother, and we didn’t do it for her.”

Evangelical Christians of all people shouldn’t agree to pray at public events such as 9/11 services. Prayer is too great to be sprinkled on a secular occasion. That’s why I’m against formal prayers also in North American legislatures, city councils, school boards, and the like. These institutions, from start to finish, have no intention of conducting their business “under God,” with constant reference to the Bible and Christian tradition, seeking the Kingdom of Heaven in all they do. So it dishonours God to drag God in for a token celebrity appearance at ceremonies for institutions that otherwise ignore God all the rest of the time.

Read the whole thing.  (And yes, I do agree with him.)