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Beyond the Pulpit

May 2018

Grace to you and Peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,

‘Spirituality’ is word that is thrown around a great deal in our society, both inside and outside the church.  There seems to be no end to the variety of definitions and interpretations of the word.  For the sake of argument, let us take some etymological liberty and speak of Spirituality in terms of ‘Spiritual-reality.’  That is to say, your Spiritual reality, is the assessment of your Spiritual priorities; how Spirit filled is your life?  How is your prayer life?  Where are you on your journey of faith?  Are you growing in faith or are you still at the same place you were a year ago?  And ultimately, how intimate or close is your relationship to  God in Jesus Christ?

These questions are not new to most of you.  And I realize that coming from your pastor, they sound familiar, almost trite at this point.  But friends, Spirituality matters, it matters a great deal when we are speaking about the Spiritual health of our congregation and Spiritual nourishment of its members.

When I came to Santa Fe nine years ago, I was told by many, “we are a praying church.”  I do not doubt the sincerity of that statement, and I believe that still to be true.  But maintaining the prayer life of a congregation is not the same as expanding it.  Again, I have no doubt that the majority of us engage in regular prayer at home and away.  Yet I must continue to encourage you to keep praying.  To that end, I want to lift up three prayer opportunities that I hope you will consider taking greater interest in.

The first is our weekly prayer concerns bulletin insert.  It is intended to be more than the latest news about people in need.  Each week we publish a list of prayer concerns.  These are concerns that have been shared with the church from people who desire prayer.  It is our hope that people will take the insert home from church and include these persons in their regular times of prayer through out the week or set aside a specific time to pray for those listed.  Furthermore, it is our hope that people will offer up their own concerns and need for prayer.  And of course, we trust you will help us keep the list up-dated as concerns change.

The second opportunity is the weekly gathering of our intercessory prayer group.  This is a group of dedicated people who meet each week on Wednesday afternoon to pray for specific needs that have been requested.  Often these are concerns that have not been made public, but held on confidence by the group.  If you are interested in this group or have specific needs that you would like lifted in prayer please contact the church office.

Finally, I want to remind you of our up-coming Day of Prayer on May 18.  Four times each year, on the Fridays before Advent, Lent and Pentecost, and on the Friday after Labor Day, we open the Sanctuary from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm and invite you all to come in and pray.  We are aware that one can and should pray wherever they find themselves on any and every day of the week.  But this does not exclude us from creating special times and places for prayer.  The Prayer Days are also intended to give the opportunity for individuals to experience different prayer practices and exercises that are new, or at least, less familiar to them.  We do this by setting up a variety of prayer stations through out the sanctuary with directions and aids to prayer.  Certainly you are welcome to work your way around the room and pray at every station, but this is not our expectation.  We are know that different prayer forms appeal to different people, which is precisely why we offer different stations.  We encourage you to check each one out and engage in those that pique your interest.  We even offer some things that are intentionally aimed at children and developing their pray lives.

We are also well aware that coming to the Sanctuary is not a requirement for prayer, but we encourage you to come for the experience of a deliberate and intentional time of prayer.  We want you make the effort to get away from your regular routines, and avoid some distractions, and ultimately, seek out some much-needed time alone with God.

Santa Fe is in the midst of some major transitions that are going to require us to engage in some heavy prayer.  We are searching for an Associate Pastor, and beginning the process to build a new building for our education and fellowship programs.  This is our Spiritual reality, and we are going to need to deepen and nourish our Spirituality.

Let us, every one of us, endeavor to strengthen our prayer lives, so that we may strengthen the life and ministry of our congregation.

May the Lord bless you and Keep you.

Your servant in Christ,

Mitch