Hymn- Jesus Loves Me
Larry Bender is preaching at Ada Chapel today. Because we don’t have a transcript of his sermon, there will be a short reflection on the blog today rather than a sermon.
As of July 5, Ada Chapel has reopened for in-person worship on Sunday mornings. Here is what you need to know about resuming meeting for worship.
1.) Friends should not feel pressured to return to meeting if they are not comfortable doing so. Worship will continue to be posted every week on the Ada Chapel blog for Friends who wish to continue worshiping at home.
2.) If you are not feeling well on any given Sunday morning, please stay home. We want to protect those among us who are high-risk.
3.) Masks will not be required, but if you have been wearing one regularly, wearing it to worship is encouraged.
4.) There will be hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes set up throughout the meetinghouse so that Friends can sanitize their hands, and so that we can wipe down common surfaces, such as hand rails, pews, and hymnals.
5.) Friends must spread out in the pews. Sitting in family units is fine, but leave some space between your family and the next family.
6.) Friends must be respectful of other Friends’ space. Congregating after worship, hugging, shaking hands, close talking, etc. is discouraged.
Rose, as she is recovering from surgery. Violeta and Ross. Our country. All those who are in harm’s way. All of those who are sick, or who have loved ones who are sick. Healthcare workers, first responders, and all those who continue to potentially expose themselves to infection. Our neighborhood and our community. People of color in this country. Wilmington Yearly Meeting. Our leaders in all levels of government. People in the recovery community. Parents, children, the elderly, and others who are isolated. Everyone who is feeling discouraged. All of those who have lost jobs, or who are struggling financially during this time. Parents who don’t know what to do about sending their kids back to school. Those who are grieving. Those who are feeling anxious about the spikes in COVID 19 infections.
Hymn- Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Wilmington Yearly Meeting Revised Queries #1: Do I engage in regular prayer for myself and others?
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time praying. I don’t know if its because the pandemic has my schedule all thrown off, or if it’s because there has just been so much happening in the world lately—but prayer just isn’t coming as easily to me as it normally does. Rather than opening up to God and having a conversation with Him like He’s right here in the room with me, my prayers have been reduced to one-liners. “God, I need help.” “God, fix this crazy.” “God, be with the people who I love.” “God, we need a vaccine.” “God, what is wrong with all of these politicians???” And that’s just when I remember to pray. Some days—I confess—that I forget about it entirely.
A few months ago, I got a pen-pal named Kellian. Kellian is really cool. We have a lot in common, but we also have enough differences between us to have some really interesting conversations. One of those differences is that she is a life-long Catholic. The Catholic Church is the highest of High Church—closely followed by the Anglicans, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, and the Methodists. In High Church, there is an emphasis on ritual, sacraments, liturgy—stuff like that. And of course, in the Low Church area where we Quakers reside, we don’t do any of that. We tend to be more spontaneous, Spirit-led folks. So, in one set of letters, we were talking about the differences in our faith traditions so that we could learn more about one another, and we got on the topic of prayer.
Kellian was telling me about teaching her daughters to pray the rosary, and how the rosary has always been really important to her faith. She also told me about an intercession prayer to Mary that she really likes, and it suddenly occurred to me—prayer doesn’t always have to be spontaneous. It doesn’t always have to be a lengthy conversation with God. It doesn’t have to be a complete recounting of my day. Romans 8:26 says: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Prayer is prayer. We don’t have to feel pressured to say all of the right things, or to do it a certain way. As long as we’re doing it—as long as we are connecting with God and building that relationship with Him—that’s what matters. If a conversational type of prayer was what I felt led to do, I could do that. But, if all I had in me was a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, or of a Catholic prayer that I borrowed from Kellian—that would work just fine, too. I was putting unnecessary limits on myself, and that was what was hurting my ability to pray—not so much outside factors.
So, this week, I’d like to encourage you to do a little bit of personal reflection about how you tend to pray. Is what you are currently doing working for you? Or do you need to mix it up a little? Do you pray spontaneously? Or do you pray at the same time each day? Are you a conversational pray-er, or do you use rote prayers? If you are usually a conversational pray-er, then try praying the Lord’s Prayer, or the Ada Chapel Prayer instead. There’s a great app called Common Prayer that provides users with daily prayers, if that’s something that sounds interesting to you. If you usually say rote prayers, or the same type of prayer all the time—then give having a conversation with God a shot. Try praying at different times throughout the day. You might be surprised at what happens. And of course—don’t forget that, “God, help me not to be a jerk”, is as good a prayer as any.
Be well, Friends, and have a prayer-filled week.
Hymn-Sweet Hour of Prayer
Ada Chapel Prayer
Father, we thank thee for the night; and for the blessed morning light. For rest and food, and loving care; and all that makes the world so fair. Help us do the things we should; to be to others kind and good. In all we do, and all we say; to grow more loving every day. Amen