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October 11th Prayer

Thank you Will!

At the Sunday Worship service of Song and Scriptures, October 11th, Will Hinkley was asked to lead the congregation in prayer. The following is the printed message.

Today, as we gather for worship as a Christian Congregation, we are acutely aware that we do not have a senior minister any more.

Under these conditions, it would be easy to feel sorry for ourselves. Prayerfully, we must resist that temptation.

Let us remember the early churches, the ones That St. Paul wrote letters to–in Rome, and Corinth, and Galacia, and Ephesus, and Phillippi, and Colossae, and Thessalonica. Paul had gathered those churches and got them off to a good start, and then he went away and left them alone–to find their own way.

There were no ordained ministers to rely on because the office of minister had not been invented yet. But that handful of churches, staffed by laypersons, became the foundation upon which the entire structure of Christianity as we know it would be built.

Today, thousands of local churches across America are gathered as we are gathered, without an ordained clergy-person in the pulpit. For many of them, and we may pray that we are in that number, the condition is only temporary. But, for many others, it is permanent. Changing times have changed many circumstances. Once-thriving communities have shriveled as technology took over jobs that whole communities of human hands once did. Natural resources have been exhausted. Generations of children have grown and moved away. And churches with shrunken congregations struggle to open the doors and turn on the lights on Sunday Morning. We have churches like this in our Rocky Mountain Conference, and each year our list of active churches grows shorter as we bid farewell to Paradox and Maybell and Torrington. But we rejoice that we still have tough little churches in places like Nucla and Hayden and Idalia and Pinedale where small but faithful congregations gather to worship every Sunday whether there is an ordained clergy-person in the pulpit–or not.

And so, as we are gathered in this beautiful building, let us remind ourselves that the Church is NOT the building. The Church is the people of God–gathered in his name. And let us take to ourselves the admonition of St. Paul in Chapter 3, Verse 16 of his letter to the Church at Colossae:

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of The Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”

Amen