2018: By paths as yet untrodden

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5a)

This past Sunday we held our annual meeting following worship. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite part of our life together–talking over the year, reviewing reports, approving the budget, etc. But it is a part of the holy work that we do as a congregation. God has gifted us with this community of faith to support, care for, and nurture one another in our walk with Jesus Christ. God has also gifted us with this community to help our ministry grow stronger with each passing year. And for this community and its varied gifts, I am so thankful.

As we look ahead to Lent in a couple of weeks, and move further into this new year, I would like to invite us all to pray for one another. We may not know every single need of every person, but God does. In 2018, may our prayers for one another contain words of thanksgiving and supplication that lift up all of the gifts of our congregation, and speak to God of the hurts and concerns we each have. May our prayers inspire us to continue on in the mission of the Gospel, here, in all the important ministry we do together, and in all places that God is calling us to serve.
As I think about this new year together, a prayer that I love comes to mind. May its words give us courage and comfort when we are hurting, and serve as reminders that we do not do this holy work of discipleship alone. May it remind us to be thankful always, for the God who calls us together as one body into this holy work.

LORD GOD, YOU HAVE CALLED YOUR SERVANTS TO VENTURES OF WHICH WE CANNOT SEE THE ENDING, BY PATHS AS YET UNTRODDEN, THROUGH PERILS UNKNOWN. GIVE US FAITH TO GO OUT WITH COURAGE, NOT KNOWING WHERE WE GO, BUT ONLY THAT YOUR HAND IS LEADING US
AND YOUR LOVE SUPPORTING US; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
AMEN.