Anniversary Prayers

Anniversaries are on my mind. It so happens, a St. Andrew couple celebrated 55 years of marriage this week. Martha and I were attending a conference seventeen years ago today (3/16) when we realized that our friendship might be shifting gears to something more. Six years ago this weekend (3/18-3/19), St. Andrew Pres celebrated her 50th anniversary.

Our History

Reading the recaps from SAPC newsletters that year (2017), I learned that the church left the sanctuary at the benediction singing and carrying candles. You were “lighting the way,” forward in ministry. That year, a lightbulb in the Narthex was lit for every $500 raised for a capital campaign. Those same bulbs were later re-lit one at a time whenever someone wrote to share a moment when St. Andrew’s members were caught letting “OUR light shine.” Anniversary memories can help us learn something about who we were and who we have become.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Our Future

No one mentioned any of this history in the town halls or discernment time regarding a new vision for the church. The elders believed the Holy Spirit directed their work.  The new  vision statement first felt like a brand new concept. Yet, to adopt the statement that “God is calling St. Andrew to be a beacon,” is, to me, a sign that you are continuing the ministry you began, not just 6 years ago, but 56 years ago. You are meant to shine, reflecting the light of love given in Jesus Christ.

Your Past, Present and Future

Even as we celebrate joyful memories, and new beginnings, perhaps some of you are remembering, right now as you read this, difficult anniversaries. Someone’s death, an end to a relationship, a conflict that has never been resolved, moments of sorrow recalled during the cold darker days of winter’s discontent. Anniversary memories can be painful, even as they, too, help us learn who we were and who we have become. The season of Lent recalls Christianity’s darkest day in Scripture—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

We “celebrate” this season every year. Christians do not avoid or minimize the suffering in the world, not even the suffering of God. Have you noticed we are not singing alleluias? Perhaps you noticed the color of the season, purple, signifying an extended time of expressing sorrow, regret or confessing guilt? Maybe you are planning spring break, egg hunts, new clothes and Easter family meals, skipping right on past Good Friday?

Please slow down and for these last few weeks before Easter Sunday, ask yourself, what am I seeking? How am I killing off the holy within myself just as the death of Jesus killed the disciples’ hope so long ago? Do I want to see Jesus only alive or am I willing to face the cross and my own despair about the missing holiness of the everyday life I am living? What in me needs the light of love? Can I imagine that  God understands despair, hopelessness, enough to understand mine? Will I bring it to God? Will I seek Christ’s merciful gaze and offering of grace? Even as he dies on a cross?

Find Help

Our Facebook page is posting the Lenten art and questions daily. You can pick up a devotional booklet at church or log on to the daily devotional. Our website has the link for the d365 devotional which is written for teens and adults. And if you need pastoral care from the pastor or deacons, send us a note by emailing or completing this form.

Beloved of God–May this anniversary Lenten season allow a new light to dawn on your spiritual seeking and may your light shine as you become a beacon of peace and love.

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. James 5:13, James 5:15