Virtual Worship for Nov. 29, 2020

First Sunday in Advent

The Presbyterian Church, 142 N. 4th St., Coshocton, OH 43812

Pastor Karen Crawford

Alice Hoover, Organist

Marialice and Bob Mauch, Liturgists

Ron Barkett, Soloist

First Sunday in Advent: Hope

Prelude: Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel;     Setting by Kenneth T. Kosche and Paul Manz

Greeting/Announcements

Prepare the Way of the Lord: Ron Barkett and Alice Hoover

Advent Reading/Candle Lighting….. Bob and Marialice Mauch

Light one candle for hope…

Prepare the Way of the Lord: Ron Barkett and Alice Hoover

Opening Words: Liturgist

The heavens are being torn open!

The mountains quake at God’s presence.

The face of God is soon to shine among us.

Even the stars cannot hold God’s glory!

Gathering Prayer: Liturgist

Hymn 105 People Look East (stanzas 1, 2, 5) Eleanor Farjeon

People, look east. The (me is near of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able; trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the Guest, is on the way.

Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare, one more seed is planted there.
Give up your strength the seed to nourish, that in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the Rose, is on the way.

Angels, announce with shouts of mirth Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming with the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today: Love, the Lord, is on the way

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Restore us, O God of hosts. Let your face shine, that we may be saved. Save us, O Lord, from traps of our own creating: from fear that blocks the way of love, from worry that blocks the way of joy, from isolation that blocks the way of relationship, from structural injustices that keep the world bound. Forgive us, O God of hosts, until the stars fall from heaven and we live as people transformed. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Meet Our Church Family: Jeff, Janice, and Lukas Sycks

Time with Children and Youth

Prayer for Illumination: Liturgist

First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-8    Liturgist

Holy wisdom, Holy word. Thanks be to God!

Second Reading: Mark 13:24-37

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ!

Message Light One Candle for Hope

Hymn 352 My Lord! What a Morning (stanza 1 and 2) African American spiritual

Refrain:

My Lord! what a morning; my Lord! what a morning;
O my Lord! what a morning, when the stars begin to fall,
When the stars begin to fall.

You will hear the trumpet sound to wake the na(ons under ground,
looking to my God’s right hand, when the stars begin to fall.

Refrain

You will hear the sinner cry, to wake the na(ons under ground,
Looking to my God’s right hand, when the stars begin to fall.

Refrain

Joys and Concerns

Prayer of Intercession

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Invitation for the Offering

Offertory: Hark, the Glad Sound!     Setting, Wilbur Held

Doxology

Prayer of Thanksgiving/Dedication

Faithful God, we thank you that Christ is being revealed in every time and place until he comes again in the fullness of glory. Strengthen our testimony and spiritual gifts; increase generosity in us, we pray, as we wait for the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hymn: 97 Watchman, Tell Us of the Night John Bowring

Watchman, tell us of the night, what its signs of promise are.
Traveler, what a wondrous sight: see that glory beaming star.
Watchman, does its beauteous ray news of joy or hope foretell?

Watchman, tell us of the night; higher yet that star ascends.
Traveler, blessedness and light, peace and truth its course portends.
Watchman, will its beams alone gild the spot that gave them birth?

Watchman, tell us of the night, for the morning seems to dawn.
Traveler, shadows take their flight; doubt and terror are withdrawn.
Watchman, you may go your way; hasten to your quiet home.
Traveler, we rejoice today, for Emmanuel has come!

Charge/Benediction

Postlude: On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry      Setting, David Cherwien

Light One Candle for Hope

Meditation on Mark 13:24-37

The Presbyterian Church, 142 N. 4th St., Coshocton, OH 43812

Pastor Karen Crawford

First Sunday in Advent

Nov. 29, 2020

      Have you decorated your house for Christmas, yet? Some people have a tradition of decorating on Thanksgiving weekend. I know some of you have because I have seen pictures on Facebook. And when we walk in our Coshocton neighborhood at night, we are already enjoying Christmas lights.

      We are planning to pull out the plastic tubs and bags of decorations from the garage and basement this afternoon. It’s a big job, isn’t it? Because you have to clean your house, too! I am hoping, though, that we will have our Christmas trees up by tomorrow. What I keep wondering is what kind of trouble our two young cats, Seamus and Liam, will get into when we put up our trees. I have a feeling we will hear them playing with ornaments in the middle of the night and see the signs of their play in the morning—bits and pieces, scattered here and there. I just hope we don’t hear a crash! And find the trees laying sideways on the ground.

      This year, I believe it is more important than ever to decorate for Christmas and shine the light of Christ in every possible way. May we also encourage one another with inspiring stories that lead us to recall the faithfulness of the Lord and the kindness of human beings.

      One such inspiring story I’ve heard is about “Rocky the stowaway owl.” Have you heard about Rocky? A worker assembling the large Christmas tree in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center discovered the little owl inside its branches a couple weeks ago. The tiny Northern saw-whet owl had traveled unnoticed inside the 75-foot Norway spruce 170 miles after the tree was cut down in upstate New York on Nov. 12. The female owl of one of the smallest known species of owls in North America was uninjured, but she hadn’t eaten for at least 3 days. She was sent to Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, where a rehabilitator nursed her back to health. She gave her plenty of fluids and all the mice she could eat. Here are some photos of Rocky, short for Rockefeller.  

    

Rocky was cleared to be released back into the wild to resume her migratory journey south on Nov. 24. An AP story the next day says,  “On Tuesday evening, rehabilitator Ellen Kalish held the winsome raptor aloft in a field against a backdrop of rounded mountains. In a video posted Ravensbeard’s Facebook page, Rocky sits quietly on Kalish’s fingers before winding her way over to a nearby grove of pines.  “She is a tough little bird, and we’re happy to see her back in her natural habitat,” the center wrote on Facebook. “We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south.”

     When I heard this story, I couldn’t help but marvel that this tiny creature would survive, traveling in a tree on a truck bouncing on back roads, highways and in noisy, city traffic for 170 miles. It’s a miracle! And then, she would cling to the branches until someone with a kind heart would discover her—and believe the creature was precious enough to be rescued and restored to health and her natural environment.

     What must the owl have been thinking on such a rough journey? She must have been terrified. And yet, the courageous creature clung to what was familiar and life-giving, her Norway spruce home, though everything around her had changed.

     The little bird held onto hope.

***

   Jesus, in our gospel lesson in Mark 13, urges his disciples to hold onto hope during dark times, and as they wait for Christ’s return, when,“the Son of Man (will) come in clouds with great power and glory.” And when he will,“send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

    This discussion is prompted by Christ’s prophecy of the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem.  “Not one stone will be left here upon another,” he says in 13:2, a prophecy that will come to pass on A.D. 70. This is hard for the disciples to hear; these country folk can’t help but be impressed by Herod’s temple. Says scholar William C. Placher, professor of religion and philosophy at Wabash College in Indiana: “It occupied a platform of more than 900 by 1,500 feet. The front of the temple building itself stood 150 feet tall and 150 feet wide, made of white stone, much of it covered with silver and gold, by far the most impressive building any of them had seen, glowing in the sunlight. Little wonder that they were amazed by it all—and then little wonder at Jesus’ frustration that they had not yet understood his teaching that God was now present in him and not in the temple.”

     After this, the disciples want to know more of what’s going to happen. Jesus speaks of false prophets and those claiming to be the Messiah, and how those who follow him will be persecuted; some of the betrayals will be from their own family members, Jesus says.

   The Son of Man’s coming will also affect the natural world. Jesus says,“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” But some theologians believe Jesus speaks symbolically, as Isaiah says in 60:19, “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light,” and as Revelation 22:5 says, “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its lights, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

    And what of the fig tree lesson?

 Though we won’t know the exact day or hour of Christ’s return, we will know that what Jesus has said will come to pass just as we observe the change of seasons in our own environment. Figs trees are important to people in Christ’s time, just as they are to ancient Israel. Fig trees are mentioned numerous times in the Old and New Testaments. So, Jesus has chosen a good example for this parable that is found in three gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke, revealing its significance! The Promised Land in Deuteronomy is described as, “a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything…” (Deuteronomy 8:8-10). Before Jesus uses a fig tree in his teaching in Mark 13, he curses a fig tree so it withers in chapter 12 to demonstrate the power of faith and prayer. Here in Mark 13, Jesus assures us that just as when we see the branches of the fig tree become tender and put forth leaves and we know it is summer, we will know that Jesus is near, “at the very gates.” This is a promise! 

     On this first Sunday in Advent, we light one candle for hope, determined to live as a people of hope, relying on the Spirit to empower us to live as God intends us. God’s Word reminds us to be ready—each of us—engaged in the work right now the Lord calls us to, watchful for the signs of our master’s return. We can trust that though heaven and earth will pass away, the promises of our Savior are forever—and that Jesus will be our soul’s everlasting home, though everything around us might change.

     This season, I urge you to shine the Light of Christ in every possible way—and not just with Christmas decorations, feasts, and gifts that money can buy. Share stories that reveal your faith in times of trial or suffering and how you have relied on your Lord to endure and overcome. Let us consider, as Hebrews 10:24 tells us, how we may provoke one another to love and good deeds and inspire each other to be our best selves! Let us be faithful to help prepare others for the coming of the Lord, reaching out with compassion to those who don’t know Him, whose souls haven’t yet found Christ to be their spiritual home.

    Stay alert and keep awake to the needs of all your neighbors, for this is also the work God calls us to do. This means all God’s creatures in need, such as a tiny but courageous owl named Rocky, discovered by a kindhearted soul assembling a Christmas tree.

    The stowaway owl held onto hope—until the day she was set free to live as God intended.

Let us pray.

Holy One, thank you that we can trust you are with us now and will come again at a time that only God the Father knows. Thank you for the promise that we will know when your Son is near, at the very gates, and that you will speak to us through our environment, the world in which we live. Help us to be faithful to do the works you have called us to—to shine your light in every way possible and to live as you intend for us to live, caring for neighbors in need, all creatures great and small. Keep us awake and alert to your holy presence, and live as people of hope, like the tiny, courageous owl in a Christmas tree—until the day we see your shining face and are truly set free to live with you for all eternity. In Christ we pray. Amen.

Nov. 22, 2020 Virtual Worship

Christ the King Sunday

The Presbyterian Church, 142 N. 4th St., Coshocton, OH 43812

Pastor Karen Crawford

Mark Wagner, Organist

Ron Geese, Diane Jones, Jim Crawford, Ashley Bryant, Kiera McPeck,

Lydia Black, and Debbie Clark, Readers

Nov. 22, 2020 worship for Christ the King!

Prelude: Two Christmas Pastorales Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726)
Edited by Charles G. Frischmann
Mark Wagner, Organ

Pastorales have a long tradition in music for Christmas, especially in Italy where the pifferari (shepherd pipers) come into villages on Christmas morning to play before the manger scene in the square.

Greeting/Announcements

Gathering Prayer

The Nativity Story

Solo: Away in a Manger Ron Barkett

Reading: Luke 2:1-20 Ashley Bryant

Hymn Joy to the World (stanzas 1 and 2) Mark Wagner, Organ

Meet Our Church Family: Auybree and Amanda Hittle

Auybree Hittle on scooter with her mom, Amanda Hittle.

Time with Our Children and Youth: Thanks Living!

The Ministry and the Message

Reading: Matthew 7:21-29 Ron Geese

Hymn: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (stanza 1)

Reading: Nicodemus Jim Crawford

Reading: Peter and the Sea of Galilee Diane Jones

Hymn: Precious Lord, Take My Hand Caroline Heading

Reading: Jesus Blesses the Children (Luke 18:15-17) Debbie Clark

Hymn: Jesus Loves Me Mason Gano, Piano

Final Entry into Jerusalem

Reading: Luke 19:36-42 Kiera McPeck

Hymn: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna Kiera McPeck, Flute; Lukas Sycks, Piano

The Betrayal and the Passion

Reading: John 19:13-28 Pastor Karen

Hymn: Were You There Caroline Heading, Piano

The Resurrection

Reading: Matthew 28:1-10 Lydia Black

Hymn: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (stanzas 1 and 4) Mark Wagner, organ

Pentecost

Reading: Pentecost (Acts 2) Pastor Karen

Hymn: Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness Debbie Clark, Song Leader; Mark Wagner, Organ

Invitation to the Offering

Offertory: Breathe on Me, Breath of God, arranged, Dennis R. Johnson

Mark Wagner, Organ

Doxology

Prayer of Thanksgiving/Dedication

Almighty God, we give you thanks and praise for your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Accept our offering in union with Christ’s offering for us. Confirm in us the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, that we may testify to the sovereignty of his love. Through Christ, with the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, Almighty God, now and forever.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

The Kingdom and the King

Reading:        John 18: 33-37                                                      Jim Crawford

Hymn     Crown Him With Many Crowns                           Mark Wagner, organ

Postlude: Rondeau on “Royal Oak” Michael Helmann                        Mark Wagner, organ

Virtual Worship for Nov. 15, 2020

The Presbyterian Church, 142 N. 4th St., Coshocton, OH 43812

Pastor Karen Crawford

Mark Wagner, Organist

Courtney Snyder and Sarah Swigert, Liturgists

Parable of the Talents

Prelude: Be Still My Soul by Jean Sibelius; setting, William M. Felton

Greeting/Announcements

Opening Words

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations;

you have been our home throughout all the ages.

You were there before the world was made and will be forever.

From everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Gathering Prayer

God of righteousness, you overcome those who abuse their power and lift up those who suffer. Even now, when evil seems to hold sway, we know that you will have the last word. Keep us faithful as we wait and watch for your coming realm, when you will welcome all your children into your kingdom of justice, peace, and love. Amen.

Hymn: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (stanzas 1 and 2)

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Almighty God,  you have shown us the ways of justice and nurtured us with love. Even so, we have not lived according to your will. When we are oppressed or unjustly accused, we cling to fear and forget to trust in your deliverance. When we are giddy with power and abuse the rights of others, we hold tight to our privilege and forget your laws. Have mercy on us, Lord, for we are weak and prone to disobedience. Hear our confession, and respond to us with kindness, that we might turn to you again, walk in the light, and live in equity and peace; through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Meet Our Church Family: Jake, Barb, Courtney and Ari Snyder

The Snyders

Message for Children and Youth: Using Your Talents for God

Prayer for Illumination

Readings: Judges 4:1-7; 1 Thess. 5:1-11

Holy wisdom, holy word. Thanks be to God!

Reading: Matthew 25:14-30

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ!

Message Are You Investing in the Kingdom?

Hymn: Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought (stanzas 1 and 2)

Joys and Concerns

Prayer of Intercession

Holy God, you welcome us into your joy and entrust us with your gospel. In hope for the world to come and with love for the world you made, we offer our prayers for your church, your earth, and your people.

For your church, in this community and around the world, that your good news may be proclaimed to all . . .

For oppressors, that they might know justice, and those oppressed, that they might know peace . . .

For your creation, that we may be the caretakers you intend . . .

For the young, that they might be nurtured in love . . .

For the old, that they might be secure in your care . . .

For those who fight the demons of addiction, that they might find relief . . .

For those who face an early death and those they leave behind, that they might be comforted . . .

For all those who care for the suffering and those in their charge, that they would be freed from pain and fear . . .

For all of those about whom we worry and those whose troubles are known only to you . . .

All this we pray with gratitude for your eternal love and extravagant grace; in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray….

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Invitation to the Offering

Offertory: Largo by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

Doxology

Prayer of Thanksgiving/Dedication

For all that you are and all that you do, we give you thanks, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We wait in hope for the coming of your realm and offer these gifts to further your kingdom on earth; in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn: 384 Soon and Very Soon (stanzas 1-3)

(Ron Geese, euphonium; Mark Wagner, piano)

Charge/Benediction

Postlude: Andantino by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1626; arr., David Johnson

Are You Investing in the Kingdom?

Meditation on Matthew 25:14-30

Pastor Karen Crawford

The Presbyterian Church, 142 N. 4th St., Coshocton, OH 43812

About 18 years ago, I was working as a religion reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. I visited a tiny, country church that was in danger. The denomination wanted the church to close because it was so small—fewer than 20 people on Sunday mornings. It was hard for them to afford to keep up their building, pay their utility bills, and pay a pastor—even a part-time pastor—anymore.

I went to the church thinking I was going to write one kind of story–about change and loss, another congregation aging, greying, and dwindling. But that’s not the story I wrote.

As we talked, I looked over at a wall of wrapped shoeboxes—maybe 100 of them. Maybe more. They told me they were for Operation Christmas Child, the “shoebox outreach” of Samaritan’s Purse. The national collection week begins tomorrow. Inside each box, the tiny congregation had lovingly packed school supplies, toys, and other gifts to help needy children around the world. What’s more, they put money in every box to pay for the shipping!

They told me that this was the main outreach ministry of their church, the one they were passionate about. They didn’t have any children in their church. Not anymore. And they wanted to bless children everywhere.

   It was a story of hope, faith, and generosity! They wanted to live out the gospel by loving, giving and serving people in need.

   Without worry for their own future, they were investing in the Kingdom of God.

    Living out the gospel and growing the Kingdom is what our lesson in Matthew 25 is about. But it’s a difficult passage for us, living in our time and place. We don’t easily connect with the language and context of slavery. Many of us just want to skip right over this passage, especially the part about the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

   We would much rather study the parables that come before and after. The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, who didn’t have extra oil for their lamps and weren’t ready for the return of the Bridegroom, immediately precedes this one. The parable about the judgment of the nations, when the king will separate the faithful sheep from the unfaithful goats, immediately follows.

     “And the king says, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt 25:34-36). And the righteous ask the king, when did we give you food and drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger? When did we give you clothing, take care of you when you were sick, and visit you in prison? The king says, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt 25:40)

   The Parable of the Talents, unlike the other parables before and after, uses the language of money and investments when teaching about the Kingdom. The word talent doesn’t mean what it does today. It means a sum of money; actually, a large sum! It was equal to 6,000 drachmas or denarii, the Greek and Roman silver coins. The first slave who was given 5 talents “was a multimillionaire by today’s standards. Some calculate the talent … to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker.” (“How heavy was a talent in the Bible?” at learnreligions.com). The slaves who received 1 and 2 talents, though considerably less than 5, still received large sums of money.

Amazing.

Although abhorrent to us, slavery is common in the ancient world. The disciples would understand exactly what Jesus means with this example. They know about lazy slaves who disobey their masters and are punished, and though this language is upsetting to us, it is normal and acceptable to them. That the slave in this passage fails to do what the master has asked and is called “worthless,” wouldn’t shock Jesus’ first audience! This doesn’t mean, friends, that God sees any human being as worthless or that God approves of slavery. This is just a story to reach the disciples right where they are and teach them and us how to prepare for the return of our Redeemer and for life in the Kingdom of God.

   Looking at some of the key points, we find that this teaching is still relevant and meaningful today. First, the master gives to all but doesn’t give each the same amount. They are given according to their “ability.” The master’s expectations, then, are different for each one because the slaves are different. God has a unique plan for each of us; we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others!

    Second, the master doesn’t give the slaves the talents to keep. The talents still belong to the master, just as the slaves always belong to their master. The slaves are charged with being good stewards of the wealth they have been given, just as we are charged with being faithful stewards. The expectation is that the wealth will be grown, without the master telling them how. The slaves know what to do. It’s a question of obedience.

   Third, the one who is given the least is the one who hoards, burying the 1 talent in the ground. He is motivated by…. what? Fear! And it’s an irrational fear, for he misjudges the character of his master.

Are there people who misjudge the character of God today? Yes. There are people who don’t know the loving, merciful and gracious nature of the Lord because they don’t know the Lord. They aren’t in relationship with Him.

    Finally, importantly, what is the reward for the faithful—who put their investment back into the Kingdom, for their master’s sake? High praise, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave!” and an invitation to enter the master’s joy—eternal life with our Lord.

     Like the slaves, we have been given a treasure to invest and grow the Kingdom. We each have a calling in this world to follow in Christ’s compassionate ways. We do this as the Spirit leads us, giving of ourselves and our resources so that the world may be blessed through us.

    Friends, there aren’t eternal rewards if we bury our treasure in the ground or when we hoard what belongs to God! Don’t let irrational fear hold you back from giving of yourselves and your resources!

     Be like the little church in York County, PA, almost two decades ago. I don’t remember the church’s name, so I can’t find out if they are still open or if they did finally close the building. No matter what, the Church is still very much alive. They didn’t worry about their future. They knew to whom they belonged!  They embraced the ministry God gave them in the present. They were happy and hopeful.

      Like the little church in Pennsylvania, our Presbyterian Women have participated in Operation Christmas Child for many years. Usually, a large group of children and adults gather to pack shoeboxes with gifts for needy children around the world. This year, it isn’t safe for a large group to gather. We almost canceled, but then found a way to scale back the project so that we could still participate. After worship today, 6 adults and youth will gather to pack the boxes, wearing masks  and social distancing.  

     This is just one way that our congregation is being faithful to invest in the Kingdom of God. There are many other ways, too. There will be more opportunities to give and serve in the future that we won’t want to miss!

Let us embrace the ministry God has given us to do today.

    Let’s be ready for when Jesus comes again! Remember to whom you belong!

    We want to hear his praise of “Well done,” and enter into his joy!

     What has God called YOU to do with the treasure that is the gospel, the good news of the gift of eternal life?

     How are you investing in the Kingdom of God?

Let us pray. Holy One, thank you for the example of your Son, who gave all of himself so that we might be forgiven and saved from our sins, set free to live new lives with Him. Help us to follow in his self-giving example and help to grow your Kingdom. Lead us to be ready, to live each day as if this is the day when your Son will return for His Church! We long to see your face and hear your praise for the good works you have ordained for us and will help us to do. We long to enter into your joy and to experience your peace. Thank you for your patience and kindness, providing for us above and beyond our needs. Cure us of our irrational fears and teach us to trust and be faithful to serve and help our neighbors. Empower us to make investments that matter for all eternity. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

F.O.R. Jesus

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