Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 22, 2024

Written by Rev. Catherine Nance

Tonight’s prayer is adapted from the one used this past Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2024. The idea for the prayer petition came from a worship resource for the Reformed Church of America.

O God, who always listens to us, who breathes new life into us, call us forward to resurrection.

When we look at images from the news, we seem to be surrounded by a world of dry bones, a world of death and despair, a world where we lose hope in our governments and institutions; we lose hope in one another.

We pray for this world in need of your Word: for all the people in it . . . we are hurting and praying for the people in Gaza and for the people in Israel who have lost loved ones from the violence; those who are still being held hostage. We see divisions in Slovakia after assassination attempt and more destruction in Ukraine. It is tempting to give up hope of peace and to ask, “What is the use of prayer?”

O God who always listens to us, who breathes new life into us, call us forward to resurrection.

We just celebrated Armed Forces Day this past weekend. We remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our country and freedom. We pray for world leaders and the decisions they must make … we pray for our president and for other heads of state that the decisions they make will bring an end to violence.

O God, who always listens to us, who breathes new life into us, call us forward to resurrection.

We are surrounded by people with dried up lives, people unable to see your life past their tears. We think of those who are lonely, who are grieving. We all know of someone whose life is being dried up by addiction or financial worries. We pray for this world in need of your healing presence: for those who are imprisoned, those we are waiting to hear from medical tests, those who are waiting to hear about a job. We have friends and family in Houston and other places who are dealing with the aftermath of storms. Oh God, we pray that your breath would bring hope and healing.

O God, who always listens to us, who breathes new life into us, call us forward to resurrection.

Those in the world would tell us that the church is dead; that we are nothing more than dry bones gathered together. We had a glorious day of worship this past Sunday. We celebrated Pentecost! May we, your church, be open to your breath! Just as Ezekiel heard rattling of bones coming to life, make us aware of the rattling we hear when children gather to learn bible stories, when youth gather to do service, when adults gather to serve a meal to the homeless. Do not allow us to be persuaded by those who say the church has no life, but give us the boldness to live fully into the life you call us.

We pray for the courage not just to follow you to death, but to follow you to the New Creation.

O God, who always listens to us, who breathes new life into us, call us forward to resurrection.

Call us to follow in the footsteps of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who taught us when we pray to say:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

We pray for ….

  • One who is having dental surgery next week; prayers there are no complications due to low platelets
  • For an employee whose son was killed in a traffic accident Sunday morning; prayers for safe travels as they go to Colorado for service. Prayers for God’s peace as they grieve.
  • For those who are grieving the loss of a pet
  • Families who are celebrating graduations and other milestones; also prayers for whom this is difficult season.
  • One who is learning a new day-to-day after the death of her mother
  • One who has been hospitalized out of town but is now home; awaiting surgery
  • A wife who is coming to the end of her earthly life; may she feel God’s peace as she enters eternal light.
  • A couple who is waiting to hear about IVF procedures and results.
  • A newborn who spent first few days in NICU; thankful she can go home. Continued prayers for strength. Prayers of thanksgiving for family!

We continue to pray for ……

  • Family members who continue to deal with cancer … all the tests and new treatments and waiting and follow up appointments. May they feel God’s healing presence in the midst of it!
  • Friends who are beginning the journey of “some type of dementia.” Prayers of thanksgiving for doctors who study our brains, for researchers who have developed better testing, for social workers, for loving family members, and helpers all around!
  • Friends and family members who are going through a troubling time.
  • Adult children trying to make good decisions about next steps in work and school and life!

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 8, 2024

Written by Steve Richardson

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come: Open our minds and hearts to sensing your closeness as you hear our prayers. 

We’re thankful for the sphere of your creation we call Earth, for its resources and social communities. Yet it can be a hostile place. The unexpected lurks in every future. Even on this evening, we’re bracing against threats of severe, potentially damaging weather. Protect and shield us, God. Strengthen our faith, ignite our hope, and bolster our confidence that you will continue to guide and steady us through our adversities. 

As we turn to you as our source for hope, embolden us with wisdom and the spiritual gifts to be peacemakers wherever there is unrest; to be healers wherever there is disease and brokenness; to be mediators wherever there is separation and mistrust; to be givers wherever there is scarcity; to be caretakers wherever there is fragility; to be comforters wherever there is mourning; to be voices of calm wherever there is angst or anxiety; to be uniters wherever there is exclusion; to be instruments of your love wherever there is rejection, hurt, despair or loneliness. 

You’ve shown us your omnipotence in many ways, including the remarkable ascension of the risen Christ from Earth to the heavenly realm. We commemorate that glorious act of salvation tomorrow. And in doing so, we pray we remain mindful of your promise to abide with us now and every moment for eternity. Thank you, God, for this gift that’s too vast to fully comprehend. 

A few days later, we celebrate Mother’s Day. The day set for this is cultural, yet the significance is Biblical and sacred, as directed by you, holy Yahweh, in your 5th  commandment.  Thank you for the love, fostering and nurturement given us by our mothers, as well as lineages of the mothers before them in ages past. 

Thank you for Church Street United Methodist Church. Thank you for its clergy, staff, and volunteers in mission, teaching and leadership. Thank you for its transformational work in the Knoxville community and beyond. Thank you for granting each of us the opportunity to be a part of this church. 

Merciful God, also hear these needs and prayers of others in our church community. Surround each person with your loving embrace and comfort… 

We pray for …. 

  • Two members who have each had a long-time pet die. Thankful for all of God’s creatures and for the companionship they provide!
  • Friends who are beginning the journey of “some type of dementia.” Prayers of thanksgiving for doctors who study our brains, for researchers who have developed better testing, for social workers, for loving family members, and helpers all around!
  • Friends and family members who are going through a troubling time.
  • Adult children trying to make good decisions about next steps in work and school and life!
  • Members who are hospitalized
  • A dear friend who has had a biopsy to determine cancer diagnosis and best treatments
  • For those who were affected by storms yesterday and today
  • For college students and school personnel; that a reasonable outcome can be reached during the ‘protests.’
  • Students who are anxious for the end of school.
  • Our seniors who are leading us in worship this Sunday.

We offer prayers of thanksgiving for ….

  • A clear report from the doctor!
  • That I am feeling better after a long illness
  • For those who volunteered at General Conference and for the good United Methodists in Charlotte who offered so much hospitality!

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of May 1, 2024

Written by CSUMC Member David Martin

Tonight’s prayer is one that church member, David Martin, wrote and shared with Pastor Catherine recently. This is a prayer that he offers each morning. Perhaps it could be your morning prayer as well. 

 

Magnificent Creator and Lord of All! 

All that I am I lay at your feet.  

To serve you is my greatest desire.   

Light my path and protect my way so that I may be found faithful. 

Let my actions always be a gesture of gratitude for your goodness.   

Let my eyes always be fixed on your splendor especially when the gloom of darkness feels imminent.  

Let me live today knowing that you hold tomorrow.  

Let the light of your Grace radiate from deep within me, transforming lives – revealing your glory! 

Let my life be a celebration of your sacrifice and victory at the cross.   

Let me be in Christ! 

Magnificent creator and Lord of All! 

All that I am I lay at your feet.  

In your Son’s name I lift up these joys and concerns of our church family…

We continue to pray for the 2020 General Conference (which is finally taking place after delays from Covid) gathering in Charlotte, NC. Please pray for our delegates by name, along with our Bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett:

Amanda Onks, Rev. Amy Sumrall, Anne Travis, Becky Hall, Rev. Caleb Frazier, Rev. David Graybeal, Dawson Kitts, Del Holley, Donna Mosby, Rev. Dr. Josh Kilbourne, Rev. Kim Goddard, Rev. Kristen Burkhart, Rev. Lauri Jo Cranford, Rev. Dr. Mark Flynn, Rev. Mary Thompson, Nate Roark, Rev. Paul Seay, Rev. Dr. Randy Frye, Reagan Kelly, Sam England, Rev. Sarah Varnell, Rev. Sharon Bowers, and Rev. Wil Cantrell.

We pray for …

… a brother-in-law who has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and awaiting prognosis and treatment plan

… friends who are going through a difficult time

….a mother who has fractured her shoulder and her wrist

…. One who seeks God’s guidance in ‘blessing the work of her hands.”

… a member grieving the loss of his faithful canine friend and companion

… one who wants to bring joy and pride to her parents and family

… two friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. May each feel God’s healing strength and peace

… a husband who is dealing with the side effects of cancer drugs

… those who are waiting on appointments and follow up consultations with neurologists

… patience for parents as a teen learns to drive!

 

We continue to pray for …

…a young adult who is struggling with mental health issues right now

…one who is going through a legal process; prayers for resolution

…those who are dealing with fertility concerns

….friends and family who are going through difficult times

….those who are in assisted living and rehab

….members who are in hospital

…peace

 

We give thanks for ….

…. Friends who bring joy to our lives

… job opportunities

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 24, 2024

Written by Rev. Tim Best

This week’s prayer is sent from Rev. Tim Best as he serves as a Marshal for the 2020 (2024) General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

God of all nations and peoples,

Our hearts are filled with thanks and praise for mercies of this day. As we look back over our day, help us discover the moments that you where your grace was especially present in our lives. Show us where conversations with others, quiet moments, the routines of the ordinary, and even the challenges of the day have held your voice and your love for us.

Lift from our spirits the burdens that have weighed us down and distracted us today. We ask your intervention where we have known tension in our relationships today, Where our hearts have been filled with anger and hatred today, transform and forgive us. For those of us who are depressed or anxious, be for us a balm and comfort. See our wounds and carry us when we are weary. As we look towards tomorrow renew us and help us to rest and wake with the hopeful promise that you will be with in all that we will face.

We continue to pray for our United Methodist Church and it’s General Conference. What a sign of your abundant love and grace that brothers and sisters in Christ can gather together and speak in their own languages, worshipping and working together. We ask that you would guide and direct all those delegates working together that they may know your will. Help them to rest, to see each day signs of your mercy and peace. Above all, help them, and all of us, to see that we are one in the body of Christ our Lord. May all speak with concern, grace, and patience as a sign of our obedience and discipleship.

Make us continually mindful of our calling and ministry. Help us to be a light and witness to the Christ’s kingdom in the midst of the world. Help us witness within our community of Knoxville. We lift up our leaders and civil servants. May they feel your guidance when they face difficult decisions, and may their hearts be shaped to serve others. Guide us all as we seek to solve the problems that face our community and the world. We pray for the leaders of our nation and of the world. We pray for and desire your peace and justice to reign through all the earth. When our hearts are bent towards war and hatred, transform us. Help us to see and experience a foretaste of your kingdom in our world.

As we close out this day fill us with your hope for tomorrow. It is in confidence of that hope that we lift our joys and concerns up to you:

We pray for the 2020 General Conference (which is finally taking place after delays from Covid) gathering in Charlotte, NC. Please pray for our delegates by name, along with our Bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett:

Amanda Onks, Rev. Amy Sumrall, Anne Travis, Becky Hall, Rev. Caleb Frazier, Rev. David Graybeal, Dawson Kitts, Del Holley, Donna Mosby, Rev. Dr. Josh Kilbourne, Rev. Kim Goddard, Rev. Kristen Burkhart, Rev. Lauri Jo Cranford, Rev. Dr. Mark Flynn, Rev. Mary Thompson, Nate Roark, Rev. Paul Seay, Rev. Dr. Randy Frye, Reagan Kelly, Sam England, Rev. Sarah Varnell, Rev. Sharon Bowers, and Rev. Wil Cantrell.

We pray for …

  • A member recovering from Covid that turned into ear and throat infections
  • A young adult who is struggling with mental health issues right now
  • One who is going through a legal process; prayers for resolution
  • Those who are dealing with fertility concerns
  • Friends and family who are going through difficult times
  • Our youth and children’s programs as they prepare for summer

We continue to pray for …

  • Those who are in assisted living and rehab
  • Members who are in hospital
  • Peace

We give thanks for ….

  • Our sixth grade Confirmation Class and Rev. Rick Isbell
  • A couple who is getting married this weekend
  • A good finance report at Church Council meeting
  • Options for second opinions and further research for medical concerns

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 17, 2024

Written by Rev. Catherine Nance

O God, we pause at the end of the day with others in our church family to offer prayer. As we read these words, we imagine members of our church and what they mean to us. Some are very dear friends and some we barely know. Perhaps there are those who have been long-time members and others who have recently started attending. But there is a comfort in knowing that others who worship where we do and sang the same hymns on Sunday are pausing now to say, “thank you for your gifts.”

We thank you for this gift of prayer and how it connects us to your heart and to others. We thank you for how prayer gives us a peace when we are troubled. Prayer renews our spirits when we are cast down. Prayer offers us strength when we are feeling weary. Thank you, O God, for the mystery of this act. Pausing to acknowledge, reflect, give thanks, intercede for others, and share our own burdens – this act of prayer gets us through the week.

We imagine others who are reading this, and we give thanks for them. We do not know the names and faces behind each prayer request, but we feel a closeness to them because they trust us with their vulnerability.

O God who hears our prayers, we wonder what your world would be like if the whole world stopped for a moment and felt a grateful connection to you and to neighbor. What power there would be in prayer!

Fill us with that assurance, O loving God, that this very act, praying together, for one another, has made a difference in our living today. It has made a difference in others’ lives. And will make a difference in how we face tomorrow.

Before we read through prayer concerns, we pause for just one more moment, and think of people around your world. We know there are those who have no ‘church family.’ There are those who are praying alone. Graft our prayers into theirs, O God. Let them know they are not alone.

We offer the prayer that Jesus taught us saying ….

We pray for ….

  • An expectant mother who has a very active little one inside! Prayers for good rest until due date!
  • All spouses who are dealing with the stress  of caring for their spouse who has dementia or other brain diseases. Prayers for comfort in the continuing grief.
  • Faithfulness; that God will keep us healthy and abundant in love! Keep us alive and well in Jesus name!
  • The family of a woman who died from ALS; she leaves a husband and two young adult children. Praying for a church member who is a dear friend to her.
  • A member’s aunt who is home on hospice care and near death after her cancer returned 
  • A family who is traveling this week
  • One experiencing difficult situation with family members with whom there has been no contact for years; prayers for a respectful resolution while maintaining healthy boundaries
  • A member’s 91-year old father whose quality of life is declining

We continue to pray for …

  • Peace in our world.
  • One looking for full-time employment; the stress of job searching is causing sleeplessness. 
  • Those dealing with mental illness; may they find God’s peace.
  • Those going through cancer treatments

We give thanks for …

  • A positive follow up appointment with surgeon
  • Finding a good solution for long term care
  • Our sixth graders at CSUMC who will be confirmed on Sunday

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Weekly Prayers for the Church Street Family

Week of April 10, 2024

Written by Steve Richardson

God in heaven and in our midst: 

Springtime surrounds our senses. Bright colors of flowers and trees’ green leaves, scents from fresh blossoms, sounds of singing birds (most of them always sound happy, except for the crows who seem to mimic fussiness!), increasing warmth from the sun moving closer and shining longer each day, and so many other sensory joys. This season brings the added sense of renewal. Thank you, Creator, for Spring’s wonders.   

Despite these blessings, we still tend to worry a lot. Jesus encouraged us to not be anxious for tomorrow. Often that’s easier said than done. We’re sure you know how difficult that can be for us in a world of randomness and pressures all around us. Culture-imposed calendars and schedules have ways of overtaking and setting our priorities. Please, comforting Lord, keep us mindful that you are always willing to be a calming source of reassurance and support.   

Jesus also shared the analogy that he is the vine, and we are the branches from which we might bear fruit.  Help us acknowledge that these grapes don’t suddenly grow all at once. Such growth happens over time, day-by-day. And some days are sunny, some are rainy; some are warm, some are cold; some are calm, some bring fierce winds and storms. But via your divine vine, we pray we produce fruit worthy of your acceptance. 

Guide and move us to seek justice, wholeness, healing, compassion, inclusiveness, hospitality, reconciliation and peacemaking. Even when we might think such goals are aspirational but not realistic, give us confidence that we can achieve them by doing our parts each day (starting now) within our own circles of family, friends and community. 

We continue to pray for your omnipotent healing touch on the brokenness of this world. Wars, natural disasters, diseases, hunger, social injustices, poverty, crimes – – the consequential human suffering from these troubles us. We pray again that your sacred will be done so that your peace which surpasses all understanding is known across the Earth. 

Thank you, God, for loving us, accepting us, sustaining us and being ever-present with us. Thank you for your grace, mercy, wisdom and promise of everlasting life. 

Merciful God, also hear these needs and prayers of others in our church community. Surround each person with your loving embrace and comfort… 

We pray for ….

  • Those who are grieving the death of husband and father after illness; thankful for love!
  • An adult child with mental illness; prayers for the mother to make best decisions for herself and family. Pray that the destructive voices will subside ….
  • A grandchild; praying for good health and discernment as diagnosis about seizures is discussed
  • A member awaiting test results from MRI
  • A young adult diagnosed with cancer
  • A young couple going through a difficult time
  • A family in Nashville in the death of their 42-year old wife/mother to cancer
  • A husband recently diagnosed with cancer; thankful for the excellent medical team. 
  • Christian unity
  • One who feels betrayed by his faith in God; searching for truth and answers
  • A friend whose twenty-year old daughter died after five-year battle with brain cancer. Prayers for this dear mother; she had already lost one child during birth. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • High school seniors who are making decisions about college
  • A son to find a job
  • A daughter having surgery this week
  • Adult children navigating health care for aging parent; prayers for discernment
  • A nephew who has been deployed to Middle East; prayers for safety for all
  • A granddaughter having medical tests
  • A nephew who is grieving the death of a much-loved uncle.

We give thanks for …

  • A new job!
  • Son and daughter-in-law moving back to Tennessee
  • The successful heart transplant surgery for a friend’s little girl
  • Safety! Thankful that a member is safe after tree fell on her house. Thankful for the prayers of so many people that bring peace and calm.
  • Thankful that our son found a good job!

We continue to pray for …

  • Peace in our world; especially the starving in Gaza.
  • One looking for full-time employment; the stress of job searching is causing sleeplessness. Dear Lord, help her find work!
  • The continued efforts in Baltimore after the bridge collapse.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 31, 2024 – Easter Sunday

By Rev. Catherine Nance

Then…

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand…”

We all know the scripture reading for today – “He is not here. He has risen.” The next line of good news we hear is, ‘He appeared.’ We think of Cleopas and his friend in Luke’s Gospel and Mary Magdalene in John’s Gospel. We could think of these as stand-alone stories; events that happened in the past to someone else. But, we claim that WE are an Easter People. In the Epistle reading for today, Paul reminds us that the appearances keep happening. “Now, I would remind you,” he begins,” of the Good News that I proclaimed to you.” He reminds us that Jesus died, was buried, and raised on the third day. Then, the thens begin. Yes, the THENS. 

THEN he appeared to Cephas, 

THEN to the Twelve, 

THEN to more than five hundred, 

THEN to James, 

THEN to all the apostles. 

In dramatic storytelling style, Paul concludes, “Last of all, he appeared also to me.”

This is where we get to interrupt the story and say, No, Paul; you were not last of all, because THEN he appeared to me!

When we say we are Easter People, we are not simply retelling a story that happened over two-thousand years ago. We believe Resurrection continues to happen and Jesus appears to us! I have seen Jesus in your faces when you speak of your hope. I have seen Jesus in a hospital room. I have seen Jesus when a child served me communion on Christmas Eve. I have seen Jesus when someone offered grace.

THEN, he appeared to me. Where have you seen Jesus? 

Prayer

O God of Resurrection, thank you for being alive in our hearts and in our world today. Help us to see you and THEN, to tell others the Good News! Amen.

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Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, April 30, 2024 – Holy Saturday

By John Eldridge

Surprise

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (NKJV)

I love Springtime; but then I love all the seasons. The earth warms and all the plants and trees begin to come alive again. All different shades of green begin to appear. 

My wife Phyllis and I have, through the years, planted a number of perennial flowers. We love to watch their progress as they shoot up through the mulch, coming out a little more each day until there is a Hosta or a new flower. It’s all a miracle! A miracle that unfolds right before our eyes. 

My Methodist minister father once preached a sermon about the Surprise Lily. The Surprise Lily is called that because there is nothing there until one day the Surprise Lily is suddenly a gorgeous flower. 

Lent is like that. Slowly we begin to “wake up” to the coming of Spring and soon know the joy of the Gospel reining in on us. Also a miracle. Then comes Holy Week and God’s greatest surprise – the Resurrection of Christ. Easter then comes and we celebrate.  

Prayer

Help me, Lord, to see the miracle of Spring, when the world comes alive after a season of sleep. Help me to know and feel that I am a special child of God. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

Submit your prayer request confidentially by clicking here.

Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, March 29, 2024 – Good Friday

By Rev. Tim Best, Senior Associate Pastor

God With Us

Psalm 22

I was in college when I learned that Jesus’s “cry of dereliction” was from Psalm 22. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that Jesus relied upon scripture to express himself in a moment beyond words. In the midst of suffering Jesus relies upon the wisdom and words of scripture. When we fail to acknowledge that Jesus is invoking scripture, we think he is just invoking raw emotion. Rather, Jesus is interpreting his own experience of suffering through the language of the 22nd Psalm. Any doubts that lingered about Christ’s humanity are dashed upon the hard edge of his cry of anguish. Yet, because he invokes this Psalm, we see that his trust and obedience to the Father remains steadfast. 

In his suffering Jesus shows us the way to encounter our own suffering, and how to seek God in the midst of that suffering. First, Jesus shows us that scripture gives us the words to be honest. It is not faithful to pretend as if our suffering isn’t real, or that it is not truly suffering. Jesus voices a sense of abandonment, calling out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” When we feel abandoned or dejected, we too can cry out to God truthfully. Second, Jesus demonstrates how thoroughly scripture can be a source of vocabulary and language for us. When we do not have words, we can pray through scripture. 

All this week it has been tempting to rush towards the victory of Easter. Yet, their is no victory if there is no Friday. We all experience suffering and pain. In Christ’s own suffering we see a solidarity with our humanity, another lived example of what “God with us” actually means. 

Prayer

O God, You who sent your Son into the world to know and endure our suffering; grant that in the midst of our own suffering we would know you hear our prayers and care about our plight. Prepare our hearts for Easter that we may know the joy of your love in the good times and the bad. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

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Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, March 28, 2024 – Maundy Thursday

By Dan Kelley

Turn Around and Repent

Read: Psalm 139

In January 1994, a 6.7 earthquake hit the San Fernando Valley of California centered on the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge. There were two major 6.0 aftershocks and hundreds of smaller ones. The quake had the highest ground acceleration measurement ever taken in an urban area.

The quake did major damage in the cities of Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Santa Clarita. It was felt as far away as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. But most damage was done in Northridge. At between $13 and $50 Billion dollars of damage, it was one of the costliest natural disasters in US History. Fifty-seven people were killed and 9000 injured.

A young student at Cal State Northridge named Carl lived in the Meadows Apartment Complex. When the quake hit Carl’s apartment was destroyed. He was knocked down and trapped in the kitchen. He awoke hours later when he heard sirens blaring nearby. His hope rose. If he could free himself, he could be saved. But the room was full of dust and smoke from nearby fires. He could not see. He struggled from under the fallen cabinets that had pinned him to the floor and crawled to the front door. If he could get through the west facing door to the outside he could be saved. 

But the door frame was jammed and no matter how hard he pounded it would not open. He yelled. He cried but no one heard him. The fear of fire burning him frightened him. The smell of gas caused anxiety. The irrational thought of earthquakes causing a tsunami that might drown him drove him to panic. He smashed on the door again and again but to no avail.

Then he bargained with God. He negotiated what he would do for God if only He would save him. He made promises. He would atone for all his sins. With this hope, he again pushed on the door with all his might. But the door did not move. He cursed God in the dark. Why won’t you save me? He collapsed in exhaustion and despair. He felt totally abandoned.

Early the next morning Carl felt sunlight on his face. In confusion he turned around to see that the eastern wall of his apartment had fallen away and he could walk out to safety. 

The word repent means to turn around. When Carl turned around and opened his eyes he could see the light. He could see the way God had prepared for him to escape those things in his life that had trapped him.

Prayer

Dear Lord and Savior, You have prepared the Way for us with your own blood. Help us to turn away from the traps of the world and see the light of your love. Amen.

Have a Prayer Request?

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