By Dot Hall
Lord God, thank you for the opportunity to gather in this beautiful church tonight to worship you. While we are here, calm our minds, focus our thoughts on your word, and open our hearts to feel your love.
Lord, as we reflect on this week, it would be so easy to be angry about so many things. A prolonged government shutdown that seemed to play jeopardy with innocent people’s lives, brutally cold winter weather that made it unsafe for many in our homeless community, the sad and senseless shooting of a 14 year old girl in nearby Syracuse. All one has to do some days is look at the news and our blood pressure rises! Remind us that you are present in all these situations, working to turn them into something good. Help us to manage our anger by turning to you for peace and understanding when we get frustrated and upset. Remind us that when our neighbors act like sandpaper: when they rub us the wrong way, or act a little rough, or have a scratchy personality, that you call us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Let us start tonight by changing our mindset. Help our first thoughts be about loving and caring. There are many in our congregation that need our love and prayers: Hugh, Edward, Bobby, Kevin, Carol, Rick, and Betsey. We also hold up the family of Marlene Chappell. Bless each of these people and their families. And hear us too, right now, as we bring our own silent prayers of need and celebrations to you.