Midweek Message

Easter Season – Tuesday, May 26

Jim Hopkins

May 25, 2020

Prayers From Ascension Sunday

Dear Lord Jesus, Master of Love, we come today, as always, with praise on our lips for who you are, and with thanksgiving in our hearts that you came in human form to live and walk among us, to show us the way to live, and to sacrifice your life so that we might live abundantly.

We have marked this Easter season without our usual gatherings of pomp, festivity and fellowship because of the pandemic that besieges us. As a result, Lord, we approach this occasion of your Ascension with much of the same apprehension and bewilderment as that of the first disciples.

We feel sorrow and sadness that you have left the earth – we would prefer that you were right here with us so that we could touch you – even though social distance rules would discourage it; we want to see you and to ask you directly when the pandemic will end so that our normal ways can be restored; but as you told your disciples …times and dates are set according to God’s authority and are not ours to know.

And so, we too, still look to the heavens with hopeful longing and concern, yet grateful that you sit on the throne at the right hand of God keeping watch over us and pleading on our behalf.

Lord, we seek to live with purpose and passion so that your kingdom can come on earth as it is in heaven. We need your help.

Teach us to wait with calm and patient assurance that your spirit will indeed come into our midst with power to show us how to bear true and faithful witness to your Lordship in a world of chaos and fear.

As we commemorate the occasion of your Ascension, we realize that on that great day long ago not only did you ascend to another level, but that we too — ordinary men and women prone to fear, doubt and failure —- ascended because you lifted us to the stature of your active agents for the transformation of the world. We marvel at the trust you have placed in us.

Lord, we ask you to empower us to keep ascending up —–
Enable us to Lift our hands higher in service to the poor, the unsheltered, those who are ill and those who are hungry;
Allow us to Lift our voices louder to speak truth to power and to proclaim justice for prisoners, victims of violence and oppression;
Enlarge our hearts wider to make even more room for our migrating neighbors and strangers in our midst

Lord, though we stand firmly planted here on Mother Earth
Lifts our sights and expand our vision beyond the concerns for our own welfare to behold the entire world in its beauty, variety and vulnerability,
And prepare us for the next stretch along this Christian way to see new vistas, new ways of work and witness until we come to know you fully and make you fully know to a world desperately in need of your grace, mercy and your love.

Lord Jesus, we celebrate your Ascension with thanksgiving and anticipation of what is yet to come, as we pray together the model Prayer that you taught your first disciples..
Our Father…..who are in heaven, …..
In your name we pray —-AMEN. (Robert Wilkins)

Pastoral Prayer

God, whose name is love, whose work is love, whose very existence is love, as we enter this time of prayer quiet our minds, still our hearts, and calm our spirits. Bring us to attention of your presence surrounding us, filling us, moving us.

We acknowledge that, in these days of pandemic, we feel such frustration, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger. There are those unguarded, unsettling moments when we find ourselves terrified that you really have left us to our own devices and all is lost. We don’t like coming face to face with all the dimensions of life we cannot control. We don’t even want to look at all the pain and suffering all around us. We wish we could resolve this crisis and get back to normal – now. We want things to be like they used to be when we thought we were in charge. If there are lessons for us to learn from this epidemic, we want them to be delivered quickly, so we can master them overnight and get back to business as usual tomorrow.

In the very name of love, that isn’t going to happen is it? Your still small voice, the sound of embracing silence, insists we slow down, invites us to listen hard, instructs us to pay attention. We have not walked in your way of compassion, have we? We have failed to follow Jesus down the narrow road of justice, haven’t we? We have ignored the Spirit’s call to peace and well-being for all creation, right? There are lessons for us to learn, challenging as they may be. There are people hurting much worse than we – physically, socially, financially, spiritually. Injustice reigns, economic in equality is rampant, racism raises its ugly head over and over, xenophobia mars any sense of real community, political madness dominates our screens, small and large, the earth groans in agony. There is so much for us to see and understand, those things of which we have been blithely unaware and those which we have chosen callously to ignore.

In this time, when we been required to slow down and pay attention for our own well-being and the well-being of others, make us good students and eager learners, even if we are stuck with difficulties of distance learning for the moment. Don’t let us move too quickly from social distancing and isolation before we have learned,to practice compassion and community from where we are sheltered in place.

And when the time does come to move out into the world again, don’t let us find ourselves looking longingly into heaven. Help us to see clearly that you have gone on before us into all the world with the good news that your name is love, your work is love, your very being is love. As your children, made in your image and likeness, may we find ourselves more keenly aware and willing to own that our names, our work, our very being is love as well. May it be so. Amen. (Rick Mixon)

Learning Opportunities

As part of our celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Dr. Russell Jeung, Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at San Francisco State University, leads No Soup, But Study tonight at 6:00

Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study will read from I Corinthinans chapter 3 tomorrow morning at 10:30.