Church Office Closed Yet Again

The church office is closed again today because Abilene Schools are closed. Some staff members will be going in because Sunday is coming on the seventh day just like it always does, but the office will be closed to the public. Please call Jenny and me on our cell phones (the numbers are on the back of your bulletins) if you need anything. Don’t worry about bothering us, we’ll be working, Sunday is coming.

A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence

What follows is the reposting of a previous entry. It’s a good prayer, one that bears repeating and re-praying. I’m only sorry I have occasion to use it again.

In the face of another act of gun violence, James Martin, S.J. has shared a prayer that I find useful. I’m reprinting it here so that you can read it without the interruptions that appear on the original site.

Almighty God,

I come before you,
once again,
after another shooting.
I am sad, God.

So I ask you
to receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers

I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.

All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God.
But I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your son expressed
when he wept over the death of
his friend Lazarus.

I am tired, God.
I’m tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue.
I’m tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change.
I’m tired of those who say that gun violence can’t be reduced.

All this makes me tired.
But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.
It’s the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles against injustice
that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples.

I am angry, God.
I’m angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this.
I’m angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.
I’m angry that these shootings happen at all.

But I know that this anger is your anger
It’s the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple,
angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in any way.

Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.
Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.
Help me see in my reactions your pushing me to do something.

Because I know this is the way you move people to action.
And I know that you desire action.
For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt.
He plunged into their lives.

So help me to answer these questions:
How can I help?
How can I fight against gun violence?
How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?
How can I help people understand that this is
an issue about life?

I am sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for the loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life.


Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.

Help me
to be compassionate,
to advocate
and to act,
as your son did,
Almighty God.


James Martin, S.J., “Sad, Tired and Angry: A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence,” America Magazine, October 02, 2017, accessed October 02, 2017,

Wear Ashes Today

There’s a good column, titled “Like Religious Freedom? Wear Ashes on Wednesday” over at Red Letter Christians about practicing freedom of religion by participating in the observance Ash Wednesday. The article by Morgan Guyton, a United Methodist pastor, ends with:

Whatever else is true, people across our nation need to see Christians wearing a sign of humility and weakness to counteract the stereotypes that we are an arrogant, powerful species of people. I pray and hope that you will join us in this simple, non-confrontational means of bearing witness.

Amen and Amen. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

First United Methodist Church’s Ash Wednesday services will be at 12:15 and 6:00 5:30 p.m. (Corrected) today (February 14, 2012). If you can’t make it in person you can watch it live at: or replay the service later on in the week.

If you follow the link above on your phone or tablet, you’ll have to download the app and create a user account. If you use a computer, you can watch through your browser without creating an account, by simply clicking the X at the top of the window that pops up.

Morgan Guyton, “Like Religious Freedom? Wear Ashes on Wednesday!” Red Letter Christians, February 21, 2012, accessed February 14, 2018,