[The sermon was given by guest preacher, Naomi McDowell and was entitled, “When We Google the Church.” We were encouraged to be advocates for people in our community. Anne Stempel, a church member who passed away last year was an advocate for people struggling with mental illness. In 1976, she helped co-found “The Gathering Place” which provides mental health services in our community. Our pastoral prayer focused on ways the church might be more like Jesus in being advocates for people in our community.]
O God, our prayer this morning is very simple. Help us to be more like Jesus. Help the church to be more like Jesus. Help us to be more loving, caring, compassionate, gracious, welcoming, accepting, open, forgiving, kind, peace-making, gentle, serving.
When people google the church, may they find these qualities and know that they will be welcomed into a community who are simply seeking to be more like Jesus. Help us to remember that it’s really that simple in what it means to be your church.
We pray for a world filled with so much pain, brokenness, violence, and injustice; a world where people and institutions can be very de-humanizing in how we treat one another and in how we disrespect one another.
But we also thank you for a world where there are signs of our common humanity where people are genuinely seeking the common good for all. Like The Gathering Place located just a few blocks from our church who provide mental health services. Thank you for Christ Lutheran Church, who recently received the Anne Stempel memorial award this past week for their support of The Gathering Place. Thank you for Anne who as a member of our church saw an important need and helped to co-found this vital organization in our community.
Thank you, O God for these signs of goodness and compassion. When people google the church, may they read more of these stories where people are finding support, love, hope, encouragement and life transforming resources.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we are also grateful for those who have served in the armed services and who are no longer with us. We thank you for their sacrifice on our behalf in helping to make this world a better place for all.
We pray this in the name of Jesus who welcomed the stranger, fed the hungry, healed the sick, and who taught us to pray together, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
[Naomi McDowell preaching at our church.]