Last year, many people in the congregation helped to write The Psalter of Grace which is Psalms 1-150 written by hand. People who adopted a Psalm to transcribe ranged in age from 8 to 91. We have worked together to make The Psalter of Grace, and now I’d like for us to read it together. Why?The Book of Psalms is the greatest printed resource available to deepen our prayer life and our relationship with God. In the Psalms we find the richest images such as “A tree planted by streams of water,” and God as a shepherd leading us through the valley of death. We have the deepest human emotion from joy and praise to frustration, confusion, and anger to hope and faith. There is no human emotion which is not expressed somewhere in the timeless book.
The book of Psalms is actually the prayer book of the synagogue. As Jews were scattered over the world, these prayers helped them keep their faith and traditions alive. The Psalms were also very precious to early Christians. They sang them in prison, feeling one with the community of faith:“About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” (Acts 16:25). Jesus quoted Psalm 22 as he was dying on the cross when he said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). This book that we have transcribed has been the greatest resource for the community of faith for many centuries, and I believe it can be a great resource for us as we turn the page on a new chapter in our walk with God in 2015.
We will read one psalm every day for a week, meet in small groups for prayer and discussion and I will preach on the Psalm the following Sunday (or it will in some way be part of the worship service). We will also be using a study guide written by Eugene Peterson called Psalms: Prayers of the Heart.
January 12-18 Psalm 1 Praying Our Inattention
January 19-25 Psalm 2 Praying Our Intimidation
January 26-February 1 Psalm 3 Praying Our Trouble
February 2-8 Psalm 8 Praying Our Sin
February 9-15 Psalm 51 Praying Our Creation
February 16-22 Psalm 103 Praying Our Salvation
February 23-March 1 Psalm 23 Praying Our Fear
March 2-8 Psalm 137 Praying Our Hate
March 9-15 Psalm 6 Praying Our Tears
March 16-22 Psalm 73 Praying Our Doubt
March 23-29 Psalm 90 Praying Our Death
March 30-April 5 Psalm 150 Praying Our Praise
Stemming the Tide of Random Acts of Mass Violence in America Four members of our church narrowly escaped injury but were badly shaken by the bombing in Boston as they participated in the Marathon. Also shaken were parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting who were there to take part in the closing ceremonies. They were victims of random acts of mass violence twice in less than six months.
Enough is enough. We can no longer sit by and wait for congress to act. We cannot sit by and wait for Homeland Security or the F.B.I. to solve this. We need not feel powerless to do anything about it. We are not powerless. We can make personal choices which, in time, I believe can stem the tide of violence in this country.
My Pledge to Stem the Tide of Violence:
#1: Just turn it off- I will refuse to feed my slightest human fascination with crime, violence, or the macabre. I refuse to watch or take part in anything that sensationalizes violence, death, or crime.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
#2: Pray-I pledge to pray daily for peace and healing in our nation. I will ask God to make me an instrument of peace and healing within my sphere of influence.
”You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16
#3. Support-I pledge to support through my involvement and or financial investment local organizations which help children and youth gain esteem and the values of love, respect, honor, and community. (This could be anything from volunteering to help at a local school, or with the scouts, 4-H, soccer, little league; to donating money to fund programming for children and youth at local community centers aimed at keeping kids from slipping through the cracks.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.
Will you join me in taking this pledge? My goal is to garner 4000 names on the list of people willing to make this personal pledge to stem the tide of violence in our nation by the end of the year? If you will stand with me on this and are willing for your name to appear on the list, just email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org . Simply put “My Pledge to Stem the Tide of Violence” in the subject line and type your name in the email. Please forward this to everyone on your list.
Your email address will not be used for any other solicitations from Grace UMC. However, you may be contacted with additional information on the “Pledge to Stem the Violence” campaign.
Thanks for stopping in and looking around. We hope you have found what you were looking for. If we can help you, please feel free to call the church office at 330-499-2330.
GOD IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME!