Midweek Message

Season of Pentecost – Friday, June 12

Jim Hopkins

June 11, 2020

June 10, 2020

From Cheryl Dudley, Regional Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York

Dear Friends,

“This is what prayer can do, it lets you put down your burden mentally for a bit and rest.”
Amy Wachholtz, University of Colorado Denver; lead researcher on the meditation study, “The Science of Prayer”, Wall Street Journal. 5.17.20

What a comfort and a joy to lay down our burdens in prayer.

As we pray to God who loves us most, we pray that today’s prayers will reach and encourage the ones who need them the most. We would love to hear from you. If you have a prayer to contribute please send to cdudley@abcmny.org.

Yours in Christ,

Questions for your reflection:
• What was the most difficult thing about yesterday or today?
• How did God’s presence surprise or comfort you today?

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. 12 Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.
Ephesians 2:8-10; 12-14

God of Grace,

Your apostle taught the Ephesians that they, and we, have been created for good works. Good works. Good works. Good works. Our salvation, as well as our good works do not come from ourselves. So we cannot boast, “Look what I’ve done! Look what I’ve done!” But any good works that come through us is simply your grace at work in us! How marvelous are your works, God of Grace. Let us boast then of you! The world needs to know.

Gentiles were once disparaged, but now you have included everyone. Gentiles were the ones who once had no hope from the religion’s point of view. They had the legal status of alien; but you have stricken the use and understanding of the word from our vocabulary. We are awed by the capacity of your Grace. It knows no bounds.

The truth is most in this world were Gentiles. We were all estranged from the riches of you kin’dom. Now through our faith there are no longer chosen ones and rejected ones. There are no longer the distinctions of blood relatives or real family and in-laws or step children. None of us were born into this faith. Our faith chose us, and we chose it back. We were adopted, taken in, given a passport – a transport document by your Grace, and then we were welcomed into your commonwealth. Its riches are shared in common by all who choose to partake.

That must mean we now have the same bloodline. Our common ancestor is Christ Jesus, who gathers us all into himself. What a brood we are! We look for characteristics in each other that we have in common. We recognize some features and are perplexed by some of others that we see.

Paul declared that the work is done. That the wall that divides us has been dismantled by your Grace. Lead us now across the rubble from the former wall. Show us how to take the scattered bricks and stones and lay a pathway into the land where through your Grace we will together dwell.

We pray in the name of our common ancestor, whose blood we share, and whose name we share, Jesus the Christ, Amen.

Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley
Regional Executive Minister
June 10, 2020

Pastor Allison invites everyone to participate in this vigil today at 12:00.