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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising, Michigan

Prayer of The Anarchist - 07/28/2019

“Grace to you and peace from God … and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God …, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Based on Paul’s greeting to the Galatians, who were really jacking things up.)

It is a joyous weekend of worship here at Eden as we officially welcome some folks who have been hanging around here lately, enriching our worshiping life together, helping out in various ways to maintain this place and our ministries out there. Thanks be to God for these new members in our faith community … Lynn Deroche, Steven and Bobbi Foster, Lon Hider, Terry Lundbom and Kaye Methot.

Like the rest of us, they all come to this place from different directions and experiences. They are traveling different parts of their faith journeys. They have a variety of growing edges that God is leading them through … which is a softened way of naming the challenges and heartaches we face in this life. They bring a variety of gifts and knowledge and passions that we promise to pray for and help nurture as members of this.

And like the rest of us, our new community members come with some of the same desires and traits we have too. They seek to know God in their lives and their neighbors more fully and deeply. They desire to surround themselves with others who have been called into this Jesus-following Way. They find comfort and relief in hearing God’s words of forgiveness wash over them regularly, and to be reminded that nothing in this world will change the fact that they are beloved children of God … that Jesus went to that cross and defeated death for their sake.

So, it is with much joy that we officially welcome these siblings in Christ to Eden, and we will have a chance to bless them and show our thankfulness for them shortly.

***

Ok, so how many of you have prayed a prayer like the one we hear in our Gospel reading from Luke today? … How many of you have prayed it even more than once a week in worship? Maybe even once a day or every other day?

Well, I’m here to tell you, because of that, you are a subversive, a rebel, an insurgent, an anarchist.

Just consider the language of what we are saying when we pray as Jesus taught us … even in Luke’s leaner version of this lesson, (Compared to Matthew 6 version) these words many of us say so often … and maybe without much thought of what is rising from our lips … these words are the stuff of revolution … the revolution of the Kingdom of God come near to our lives here in the world. A revolution that started in the person of Jesus and continues in all the time since then as we follow his teachings, eat together at this table, bathe in our baptismal waters and wait for him to return to us once again, where we expect God’s whole truth and life for us to be fully revealed.

In the midst of this revolution, we say:

Our Father, holy is your name above all else that seeks our worship and devotion and attention. You are first and you are everything …

And God, let your kingdom be revealed fully so that all our human-born brokenness and sin is fully and finally overthrown. Bring us to the time when you are revealed completely to us, the time when we will see one another as you do…

God, we long – some of us much more than others – for a place where our basic needs will be met freely and abundantly … without price tags and hidden costs … without our need for food and shelter and love being hung over our heads for leverage. A place where your abundance is never interrupted by our tendencies to hoard and accumulate and guard.

And God, forgive us for all the mistakes and missteps we make so we are freed of that weight. And help us to forgive others when they sin against us so that we are freed of that weight too.

And finally, God, help us to avoid the trials of our lives, give us courage and willpower in the face of what tempts us. Protect us from the evil forces in this world that reject and battle against your revolutionary kingdom. Amen.

This is no milquetoast kind of prayer that we speak to God and often with one another, friends.

It is subversive – it asks God to undermine and overthrow things like greedy corporations, unjust leaders, the presence of racism, exploitation and discord in our organizations, our laws and our American or Christian or Yooper or Mustang cultures.

It is the prayer of a rebel because it asks God to help us resist allegiance to our most powerful earthly temptations like wealth, power, status, control, all this stuff that will one day come to mean nothing.

We are insurgents, again in the sense of being rebels standing up to that which opposes God’s life-giving ways for the whole creation …

… and insurgent also like waves on Lake Superior, sometimes gentle, other times quite foreceful … waves of prayer, hospitality, forgiveness, courage, generosity and hope … insurgent waves rushing onto all the shores of a weary world.

We are anarchists for the Kingdom …

… answering every argument that the Church is dead with our confidence that where there is God, there is life.

We are anarchists for the Kingdom …

… proclaiming that where there is hunger or war or oppression, our God promises enough to eat, safe places to raise our families and live into our vocations, and freedom. And so we strive to be the hearts and hands and eyes of God as those systems and bigotries and injustices are in the process of being overthrown for good in the Kingdom of God come near as a Good Samaritan on a dangerous road.

We are anarchists for the Kingdom …

… inviting and inciting all with ears to hear into communities and ministries of hope in the face of despair; companionship in life’s joys and sorrows; wholeness and salvation in the face of illness and death; freedom from our human inclination to sin and be sinned against.

God, our Father, our Mother, our Brother and Teacher, our Pot-stirrer and our Redeemer, hear our prayer. Amen.

Pastor Ann Gonyea

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Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church ~ Munising Michigan ~ An ELCA, Northern Great Lakes Synod Congregation
P.O. Box 360 ~ 1150 West M-28 ~ Munising, MI 49862 ~ 1-906-387-2520 ~ contact@edenonthebay.org

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