Did anybody’s congregation pray for the new president during Sunday’s worship?
With the inauguration of the new president last Friday, it’s appropriate for people of faith to pray for him and all leaders of this country.
For the millions of citizens who supported Donald Trump, this is probably an easy and automatic response. But for the millions who did not, (remember he did not win the popular vote) such prayers may come harder.
A preacher friend reminded me this week that the Bible has many examples of how God has used all kinds of people for good, even folks some might consider “no good,” as we say in the South.
There’s that interesting little story about Ruth, the hero of the Old Testament book that bears her name, who slept with Boaz in order to gain favor and save her family.
Or the one about Rahab the harlot from the red light district of Jericho who hid the spies sneaking into the city.
And let’s not forget Tamar, whose husband died and who posed as a prostitute and tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her. Their union brought forth a son who is in the Messianic line, as are the aforementioned women.
And lest we forget, there’s the matter of King David, who lingered long on the dance floor and set up a despicable plot to have the woman he desired. Yet, it was he who became known as “the man after God’s own heart.”
Surprise! This crowd of witnesses, a cadre of big-time sinners for sure, is listed among ancestors in the genealogy of Jesus that the gospel writer Matthew recounted in great detail.
My preacher friend also reminded me that even if we are not a fan of the new president, consider him the enemy and think the country is going to hell in a hand basket, we might be well served to remember the words of Jesus.
“But I say to you, love your enemies ...”
So how about a prayer for God’s hovering Spirit to be present in Washington warming the hearts of hard-nosed politicians, greedy millionaires and billionaires and among ordinary Americans who love this great country and its tradition for promoting freedom, justice and peace in the world.
“Beyond Gun Violence,” a conference sponsored by the N.C. Council of Churches and three Chapel Hill congregations, will be held at United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.
The other two Chapel Hill churches are University Presbyterian and St. Paul AME.
The Rev. Matt Crebbin, senior minister of Newtown Congregational Church, will be the keynote speaker. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, he has been a spokesperson about gun violence throughout New England and across the country.
He will preach on Sunday, Jan. 29, at United Church. Service times are 8:45 and 11 a.m.
Online registration is through the NC Council of Churches, www.ncchurches.org.
A prayer vigil, sponsored by the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, to honor the lives of Javan Burt, Frank Nathaniel Clark, George Beamon, Jamond Lee Alston and Augustus (Gus) Cornelius Brandon will be held will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, outside Shepherd’s House United Methodist Church, 107 Driver St.
The men ranging in age from 18 to 34 were all victims of gun violence in Durham in November and December.
The Rev. Rob Womack of the Religious Coalition and the Rev. Sarah Ball-Damberg of Church of the Holy Family in Chapel Hill will offer prayer and reflection.
All of faith and those of no faith are welcome.
Also on Thursday, the Religious Coalition will hold its Community Luncheon Roundtable at noon in the fellowship hall of the church. No RSVP needed. Lunch provided.
The Lunch Brunch
Some Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is a capricious expression of God in the world, a presence that shows up any time and anywhere with a nudge for Christians to react with deeds of love and mercy to fellow travelers.
Could it be that the Spirit was at lunch on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Big Ed’s North, a popular Raleigh restaurant, when the Lunch Bunch showed up?
This bunch is not an ordinary group of folks, however, they are volunteers at Christian Library International, a local prison ministry that serves 1,500 correctional facilities in all 50 states with shipments of donated Bibles, Christian books, CDs and DVDs.
These volunteers meet on Tuesdays to sort, pack and stamp boxes that are shipped to prisons all over the country.
When Frank Janes, Steve Howell, Kirby Raley, Tom Logan and Phil Huber sat down for lunch, they learned that one of their favorite waitresses, Chastity, had suffered a house fire. The Lunch Bunch flew into action by pooling funds totaling $150 at their table.
But as word spread around the busy dining room, donations began to mount up and the diverse crowd quickly raised $1,000 for Chastity and her child.
“A drop of kindness turned into a flood of blessing!” Raley said.