We’re about as far away from Advent on the calendar as it’s possible to get. These May days are warm and delightfully long, but I’ve found myself frequently praying and humming a few lines from the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” which are usually reserved for the dark, early days of December. These are the words I’ve been returning to:
Bid all our sad divisions cease
And be for us the King of Peace
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
I keep praying this because I keep hearing from people who have thought so much about politics in the last year that they believe that churches (including Elmhurst CRC) are making decisions not based on prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit but based on the winds of political preference and favor. Alas. And so I pray:
Bid all our sad divisions cease....
I keep praying because rockets have ranged over the border between Israel and Palestine for the past eleven days. The Holy Lands of the Bibles are better known in our modern world as the land of terrorist organizations and intractable armed conflicts. And so I pray for the soil where Jesus walked:
And be for us the King of Peace...
I keep praying for our United States of America, that we will allow ourselves a season to heal, mend, recover, and recycle the losses of the last year into sometime positive and productive. I pray that we can trust the motives (not necessarily the methods) even of those with whom we may honestly disagree — trust that we are all longing for better days and a better version of our country.
Bid all our sad divisions cease…
I know May to be the single busiest month on the domestic calendar of families with kids. Most of us are already exhausted and — mercy — the looks of weariness I see on people’s faces these days:
And be for us the King of Peace
The Bible offers the answer to each of these prayers. In Philippians 4:6-7, God says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Anxiety loses to transcendent peace in the long run. Yes and Amen!
Every situation can be transformed through prayer. Yes and Amen!
Circumstances can be tough even as hearts and minds are caught up in Christ. Yes and Amen!
Here are three ways to spiritually embrace the Phillipians 4 life in the next few weeks at ECRC:
- Sabbath: Enjoy a special day with God and the people you love. One out of every seven!
- Service: May 30 will be a special 5th Sunday Serve day as we worship by getting our hands dirty and serving the needs of the community and the needs of the world. Our online worship service will be released on Thursday, May 27 as well.
- Generosity: It’s almost impossible to be crabby and generous at the same time. We’ve gone nearly a year without taking a public offering at a worship service, but we will be facilitating a first-ever Elmhurst CRC Day of Giving on Tuesday, June 8, to say “Thank You” to God for all the good that has happened in the past year despite the obstacles.
I’m looking forward to practicing each of these in the days ahead and trusting that God might grace me with a diminishing sense of “sad divisions” and an increasing sense of “Rejoice! Rejoice!” as a result. May you also have a lively sense of God’s ongoing good work within you.