Take Time to Celebrate, Even During Difficult Times
I guess I never realized how momentous the first 10 days of May could be. On
Tuesday of this past week, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the
Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire (although I guess it’s become less
about liberation and more about libations). On Sunday, we will celebrate Mother’s Day
(don’t forget) as we honor our dear mothers and all that they have done to nurture and
guide us, particularly in our faith.
Nestled in between those two celebrations is National Day of Prayer. Each year,
on the first Thursday in May, people are encouraged to gather publicly to pray. I noticed
a gathering of folks on the square in Downtown Wooster yesterday morning. Some wore
masks; some did not. Some were socially distanced; some were not. I was on my way
to the church, so I didn’t take time to stop, but my guess is that those who participated
were delighted to take part in communal prayer for the first time in almost two months.
We have certainly missed one another, and we long for the day when we can
return and worship together. I am hopeful that that day is coming soon. In fact, we are
already talking about the steps needed to provide for safe, but meaningful, worship,
when we are allowed to gather again.
Public prayer is a good thing. It is a symbol, not only of our faith but also of our
courage to share that faith in the presence of others. In Matthew, Chapter 6, just before
Jesus teaches his disciples the Lord’s prayer, he also takes time to highlight the
importance of private prayer when in Verse 6 he says, “…when you pray, go into your
room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who
sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This reminds us that while there is value in public prayer, there is also significant
merit to private prayer. During this time, when many cannot get out and pray with
others, we can all take comfort in the fact that when we pray in private, God is every bit
as present as he is when we pray in public.
Setting aside one day a year for prayer is great, but remember that we can —
and should — all pray the other 364 days of the year, too.
Even though we are separated physically at this time, we are united spiritually, so
let us take this opportunity — today and everyday — to pray with and for one another.
Until we meet again, Be Blessed — Pastor John