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'...Pray like this...'

We are so blessed to have multiple gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Our four canonical gospels provide us with widely varying stories and details about Jesus. So widely varying that some stories as presented in one gospel are completely incompatible with the other gospels. Not only is that not a bad situation in which to find our selves--it is how it should be! It is freeing to know that God's love is so expansive that it could never be encapsulated in one singular version of one particular story. That also goes for the prayer commonly known as The Lord's Prayer (aka the "Our Father"): there is no, one, singular way to formulate that prayer.

We first encounter this prayer in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 6. We see it again in chapter 11 of Luke's gospel. They aren't the same! So there is no reason to be bothered by the existence of varying versions of the prayer. Still, it is totally fine to have a version of the prayer that you prefer because it brings you comfort and helps you connect with God. The world is plenty big enough for many versions to coexist. 

Many of you asked about having a copy of the versions we used last Sunday. Done! 

First we read The Rev. Dr. Wilda Gafney's translation of Matthew 6:9-13 in A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church:

"Pray then in this way:
Our Parent and Provider in heaven,
holy is your Name.
May your majestic rule come.
May your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from that which is evil."

Here is the version we said together during the sermon time. Dr. Gafney included this in her commentary on Matthew 6. This is written by The Rev. Yolanda M. Norton:

Our Mother,
who is in heaven and within us,
we call upon your names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done, in all the spaces in which you dwell.
Give us each day sustenance and perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
and deliver us into community.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.

I hope these versions will unlock awe, wonder, and curiosity in your prayer routines. 

 

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with

Advocacy Opportunities

Welcome back to the blog! Time for some follow up on ideas and actions we’ve discussed over the previous few weeks.

First, last week’s guest speaker, Cynthia Changyit Levin was terrific! If you missed her talk, you can (as I hope you know by now) watch it on our YouTube channel.

Cindy and her husband, David, gifted Woodridge UMC with a copy of her book for our church library. Check it out some time. (See what I did there?) Further, learn more about the amazing advocacy work Cindy does by clicking here. You can buy her book there too. 

As Cindy shared with us, our Offering of Letters had a great impact! The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July! Click here to see which Representatives from IL co-sponsored it.
 
Click here to see how all Illinois Representatives voted (spoiler alert: only one Representative didn’t vote for it. Can you guess who?)

Cindy talked about the need to continue our advocacy in order to get this bill passed in the Senate. The urgency comes from the need to get this passed before the end of the year. After that, the process starts all over again. (We don't want this to be "just a bill on Capitol Hill" do we??)

Click here to partner with Bread for the World to send our Senators a letter asking them to sponsor and pass this bill. 

Click here to learn more about other legislative priorities Bread is working on to help care for our hungry and hurting neighbors.

Meanwhile, we here at Woodridge UMC continue to resist and refute White Christian Nationalism. So far 12 people from our congregation have raised their voice by adding their name to the statement by Christians Against Christian Nationalism. That’s awesome! But there is room for many more names. I’ve included the full statement below.

Click here to add your name .

Here's the full statement: 

As Christians, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy — Christian nationalism.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. We reject this damaging political ideology and invite our Christian brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation. 

 As Christians, we are bound to Christ, not by citizenship, but by faith. We believe that:

  • People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square. 
  • Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions. 
  • One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community.
  • Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.
  • Religious instruction is best left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions and families. 
  • America’s historic commitment to religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions.
  • Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual impoverishment of religion.
  • We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship—against religious communities at home and abroad.

Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy.

Again, click here to add your name to this statement.

What other ways can our congregation resist and refute White Christian Nationalism? Leave your ideas (or questions) in the comments below.

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with

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