Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Year’s Prayer

Lord, this has been a tough year. Mass shootings and anti-Semitic attacks are at an all-time high in our nation. Churches have been shot up, forcing armed security guards in churches to kill their attackers.  I do not judge these Christians. I would also defend myself and others if attacked. But Jesus, I wonder how it fits into your teaching about nonviolence and nonresistance.

Political discourse has degenerated into sound bites and talking points. Name-calling, intimidation and bullying has taken the place of thoughtful discussion. Probably never since the Civil War have we been so divided as a nation. It is no accident that immediately after that war the president was impeached and now another president has been impeached.

Then there is climate change, which nearly everyone agrees is real but disagrees as to its cause. Consequently we cannot agree on a solution. The youth are angry at our inaction, but those in power ridicule them, ignore them, or pay lip service to their idealism. In a few decades the youth will grow into adults and rule the nations. That alone is reason for hope.

Spiritually our nation seems to be in freefall. Young people are abandoning religious institutions and organizations. The politicization and hypocrisy of established Christianity is repugnant to them. Finding the church increasingly irrelevant to their lives, they have voted with their feet. Churches as know them will cease to exist as aging members die off, unless Christians repent and change.

But I have to believe that genuine spirituality and the eternal gospel will prevail. I pray for religious revival in our land. In the place of today’s fossilized faith, which is desperately clinging to its glory days of worldly power and influence, I pray there will arise a truly “catholic” (universal) spirituality that will transcend religious parochialism. Common experience of the Divine will unite religious people rather than divide them. That is my hope and prayer.

O Lord, this New Year’s day, I reaffirm the prayer you offered two thousand years ago, and pray it will be fulfilled in our generation – or at least our grandchildren’s lifetimes:

Jesus said, “I pray that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

May unity prevail. May love triumph. May peace reign. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.


Abbababba said...

And anger undergirds it all. This is how we devolve in a western society that teaches taking control, edging out God. We have come to define ourselves as separate from one another; from what is absent in our lives and lastly, from God. We live resentfully as "have nots", not "haves". Peter teaches submission both to God and to human institutions, but we've lost confidence in those who hold the offices of public trust. We all know that submission to Divine authority gives us enormous freedom. Peter teaches that we should act as free men (in Christ) to do right by others for it is God's will that by doing right in all things we silence foolishness and evil behaviors (ego). Peter admonishes us, however, not to use our spiritual freedom for doing evil ourselves. And yet, isn't this what we're really seeing played out in everything you've just prayed about? We've come to embrace freedom as having self control. Unfettered speech, covetousness and the choice to stand apart from the Dao leads to chaos: "The five colors blind men's eyes. The five tones deafen men's ears. The five flavors spoil men's paletes. Running and chasing make men's hearts mad. Rare goods confuse men's ways." Namaste!

Plant Lady said...

Thank You Pastor Marshall,
I love your powerful, unabashed message and you hope and faith in Our blessed Hope Jesus Christ. That's so beautiful. So many insights so correctly devided. I don't know when you started these Spiritual Reflections but now that I know you do, I will put a star on them so as to be sure to catch them. Blessings to you and Jude and yours,
Have a Blessed new Year and Keep the Hope