Bring hope to whatever lies ahead
The gem that I would like to begin with for this article is found in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
In the verses preceding, the apostle Paul has called his sisters and brothers to be like-minded and to be “one in spirit and purpose.” In this week on the fall calendar, when Veterans Day is recognized, we are reminded of military personnel whose very calling is to pursue interests far greater than those of an individual.
In the Bethlehem congregation on Sunday, Nov. 8, we prayed the following petition:
Holy Protector, be with all observing Veterans Day. Guard the lives of active duty and retired military personnel. Comfort all who mourn those who have died in the line of duty.
Heal the wounds, both physical and mental, experienced by service members.
Hear us, O God … Your mercy is great.
I suppose one of the dangers of any prayer petition is the danger of excluding someone’s experience and their feeling wounded again by those who pray. Forgive me if the above petition somehow rings hollow for you.
May we be reminded that the apostle Paul also wrote in Romans 8:26 that times will arrive when “we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
I close with prayer. (For People Facing Great Uncertainty, New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 747)
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart;
Bring hope and courage to your people as we wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal of whatever lies ahead.
Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness;
You are God, and we need you. Amen.