By Pat Russell
Considering the sermon by Rev. Bill Sanders (Ret.) on October 25, 2020
Matthew 22 34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Deuteronomy 34 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4 The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6 He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.
You could not have listened to Bill Sanders yesterday without hearing his reminder to us all to be in prayer in these days of transition of our church. As the newly re-formed community of the Israelites said farewell to Moses who led them from Egypt to the Promised land, we say goodbye to Bruce. Of course, we are sad, just as the Israelites were sad…
…but we must move on into the “land” God has promised us as a church community. We have work to do! Work that is both inward and outward as we PRAY, have PATIENCE, DISCERN, and TRUST. Perhaps the baseline is regular and heartfelt prayer.
I offer you some ways that you might pray in the days ahead. Pray for:
· the Elders of the church by name, for their wisdom and discernment in these days.
· the Deacons as they care for our people during these days.
· our upcoming “in-house” and “live-stream” services.
· how to move our church into the future during the corona virus.
· for our patience and trust to grow during these days.
· for God to lead us to our interim pastor.
· for the preparation of our new senior pastor wherever and whoever she/he may be.
Consider fasting regularly so that when you feel those hunger pains, you will be reminded to pray.
When you meet with someone else from the church, take a moment to pray together or call someone with whom you could pray.
Be still and allow God to bring to your mind for what or whom you to pray.
Put a “sticker” in an obvious place, like your car dashboard, or your mirror that reminds you to pray for our church.
Heavenly Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We want to be your people in the midst of this transitional season in our church. We are grateful that You have been so very faithful to us in the past. You have led us through challenging times and peaceful times in these past 11 years with Bruce as our pastor. You have continually led us more deeply into Christlikeness. Now we are going into a new season and we need your continuing guidance, strength, and discernment as we prepare for what lies ahead. We know that this time in our church life is not in any way wasted or meaningless. It is Your time to work in us new ways of loving both You and each other. We trust in Your steadfast, loving kindness that is given to all generations – this generation. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.