By Rev. Beverly Kahle
St. Paul’s UCC, Nashville
As my colleague, Pastor Scott Sharp, pointed out last week, we are living in turbulent and uncertain times. These times are even more unsettled given the continued escalation of threats regarding the release of nuclear bombs. The uncertainty, polarization, and the fear across our country and the world are palpable.
As followers of Christ, I would remind you that fear no longer needs to rule us as we put our trust in the one who created the universe. But, I would also remind you of an obligation that we have as Christians. This is an obligation to be salt in the world. One of the most effective ways we do this is through prayer. Prayer is always our first step.
In II Chronicles 7, Solomon is consecrating the temple to God. In verses 14-16, we hear part of God’s response, “14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” (NIV) We are reminded that our obligation as God’s people is to be intercessors for the world in which we live. We do this by prayer – first seeking God and then lifting up our world.
While doing this, we live our lives in ways that point to God. In the midst of this, we own and recognize that we ourselves are broken and do things that separate us from God and one another (sin) and need God’s forgiveness; for us and the world around us. When we turn from those things that separate us from God and put God first, God promises to hear our prayers and to bring healing; again, not just for us, but for the world.
I don’t know about you, but I am firmly convinced our whole world needs healing. The churches in our community and around the world are the first line of defense in this search for God’s healing. Churches are only as effective as the people who attend and yield to God. If you want to make a difference in the world and in our community, the place to begin is in fervent prayer with other believers. Prayer in concert with others multiplies its effectiveness. Let’s put fear behind us and embrace the power of prayer as we trust in God.
Maybe this weekend is the right time to come and be part of something bigger. Maybe this is the weekend to put God first by joining others in worship. We have several churches in the area from which to choose. Let’s together make a difference.