Read Matthew 27:11-54

The witnesses declared “Truly this was God’s Son!”  In fact, the Resurrection called all of humanity and all of creation to make the good confession together.  All that was confessed. Today, with all that we are and have, we too confess and declare: “We believe!”  Today, we are remaking the good confession, and this sets the course for all that we are.

Easter cries, trumpet sounds, organs playing, children marching, flowers blooming, Bread and Wine being shared, and a word of belief bear witness to the truth of God’s Son who is alive in our midst.  Happy Easter to Easter people!

Giver of every perfect gift, we thank you for life and life abundant in our risen Savior Christ Jesus.

Thaddaeus B. Allen

Regional Minister

Prayerscapes is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church in WV and the Christian Church in PA.  It is made possible for your free use because of your faithful support of Disciples Mission Fund,  for which we all give thanks.

We are truly grateful for the lives and work of our beloved ministers throughout the regions of WV and PA, and for their contributions to this effort. 

We look forward to seeing you again in Advent (begins Dec. 3), so don’t cancel your subscription!

Read Joel 2:1-2, 12-17  

God calls us to return with “all your heart,” and to “return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”   The good news, brothers and sisters, is that we are being called together again this Lent, for we are too important to be left alone on this journey.  Lent can be a very powerful time of renewal.  A solemn and reverent assembly of God’s very own (infants, youth and those who have the Gift of Years) is given a call to worship.

Thus, holy Lent is a time of great gathering of Christ’s Church.  The body of Christ is being consecrated and sanctified in the great anticipation of God’s grace and forgiveness.  We are not just being called into a private time of reflection and examination, although this is never to be underestimated.   This year, let us be mindful that the community of the baptized is being called collectively to turn to God.   Let us be open to all that God wants us to have and to experience.  Even in the midst of a world that too often times makes no sense, our God calls us home to grace, mercy, halted anger, abundant steadfast love, repentance, and a peace that passes all understanding.  Together we are called towards God in these important and life giving holy days.  Let us go together.

May we return to you Dear God with loving and trusting hearts.   May we be made one and share this gift with your world and children everywhere.

Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

Friday, Jan. 6: Feast of the Epiphany              Read Matthew 2:1-12

from Thaddaeus Allen, Regional Minister and President:

The Church through our Middle East Initiative of Global Ministries sent me to Bethlehem recently.  There were other stops, but today Bethlehem is before us.  It was moving to be in the place where Jesus was born.  Like the wise men’s was, ours was a journey of distance.  Like the wise men, we were not locals.  Like the wise men experienced, there was a palpable sense of both joy and deep reverence that I experienced.  It was moving to meet with our Global Mission Partners who are doing such important work in the land of Jesus’ birth.  Sadly, the work being done is not always received as a special guest, and it is often treated as an unwanted foreigner.

I am touched by the ways in which our partners give gifts and find other roads if needed to steward the gospel in their midst.  The treasure chests of the church are opened wider because of our witness in Bethlehem.  When we came to the place where Jesus born, like the wise men, we could not help but kneel down and pay homage.  Today is a day to be overwhelmed with joy.

O Revealed Christ, make your presence known in our world today, beginning with our lives and the life of your beloved Church.  Bring light to all through the gifts we have been given in your coming.  We offer ourselves, our very best, to you.  Amen.

 

We express our gratitude to the ministers of the regions who have offered their devotional thoughts and prayers through this project, which is sustained by your gifts to the Christmas Offering for Regional Ministry.  To contribute to the offering, please visit the following pages:  Supporting the PA Region   or    Supporting the WV Region  Gifts received by Jan. 6 will be credited to your congregation for 2016 in Yearbook Reporting.

Prayerscapes is published by the Christian Church in West Virginia and the Christian Church in Pennsylvania for the not-for-profit distribution of their members and friends in the ecumenical church.  ©2016. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day         Read John 1:1-14

from Thaddaeus Allen, Regional Minister and President:

The light shines in the darkness!  This is the gospel, the very good news of God in Jesus Christ.  The darkness of the world has been dealt with and light is on the scene.  And God so loved us that a witness, too, was born.  John’s call was to testify to the light, the true light that enlightens all!  And today, we, too, are reminded of our calling to be witnesses to the great light that is the Christ child.  On this feast day when we experience afresh the incarnation, we are free to tell it from the mountaintops that Jesus Christ is Lord.  We are free to engage in acts of love and charity that make it clear in the darkest places of our neighbor’s lives that light has arrived on the scene.  We have seen God’s glory, and we have the grace of living within God’s very family.  This we must share!  We are called to be witnesses to this marvelous act of God’s grace on us all.  Merry Christmas!

We give you thanks, O God, for the gift which you alone could give us – your very Self – and for the opportunity to share you with the world for which you have come to offer yourself in love.  Amen.

We express our gratitude to the ministers of the regions who have offered their devotional thoughts and prayers through this project, which is sustained by your gifts to the Christmas Offering for Regional Ministry.  To contribute to the offering, please visit the following pages:  Supporting the PA Region   or    Supporting the WV Region

Prayerscapes is published by the Christian Church in West Virginia and the Christian Church in Pennsylvania for the not-for-profit distribution of their members and friends in the ecumenical church.  ©2016. All Rights Reserved.

This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Read Luke 24:1-12

from Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

Sometimes it seems we need to see things for ourselves in order to believe. Peter demonstrates this nicely for us today. The reality of the Risen Christ, who stands in our midst and in whose peace we abide, is something for us to experience. First-hand testimony of life is a grace, and it can prompt us to look more closely and carefully for the signs of life and life abundant in our own experiences. So on this beautiful morning when the Church brings first-hand testimony of the Resurrection, take this and run to the tombs of your life. Perhaps we will see for ourselves, with our very own eyes, that places of death and entombment are the places in life where Jesus can roll away the stone that suffocates.

The story of this day is of life. Experience this anew. Receive it gladly and believe! Look closely and with your very own eyes for the signs of God’s gracious presence in our midst. He is not dead – he lives! Because he lives – so do we! Run to your life and receive it in all of its beauty and abundance. Believe for yourself!   Christ is risen, he is risen indeed.

For the gift of the Resurrection, and for life abundant, we give thanks and praise!  Alleluia!

Read Isaiah 58:1-12

from Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

It has been said that one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith is that we are called, and perhaps even obsessed, with the other. This is a rather freeing reality for us. We are different when we exercise this God-given reality. When we consider the other, selfishness and self-obsession give way to selflessness and humility. When we consider the other, scarcity gives way and generosity fills the room. Even personal consumption is curtailed as communal concern is displayed, when we get outside of ourselves. Christians are called to consider the other, or others, for we do not live alone, and in our baptism we are made one with the whole people of God.

This beautiful lesson from the prophet encourages the faithful to let our light rise in the darkness. Our bones will be made strong and we will be living water for a parched land and people. In these days as we consider the work of the Savior heading towards the cross, Isaiah also calls us to consider the other whom God has given us to love and to serve. Others are our brothers and sisters; we have been made one with the whole people of God.

Make us one with you, dear God, and with others  during this holy season that you have given us.

Read Luke 2:1-20

from Rev. Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister

This day is a most holy of days. This night is a most special of nights. This season of Advent is about to climax with an announcement, a birth, and a song for all of creation to hear. This day God and the Church invite us into a renewed participation with the Incarnation. God is with us, and lives with us, and forms us ever anew.

In this rich scripture offering we find many names and places lifted up. People are registering and being accounted for in this lesson. Perhaps today we can consider the reality that our names and our places too are registered in the Christmas reality of God’s grace-filled occupation of God’s world and God’s people. We are accounted for!

This night we will connect with believers in worship and life from far and wide. Let us welcome each and every one as if they were the Child born in Bethlehem and lovingly placed in a manger by his mother. Today we must note that all people count, so we register all we meet this day in our hearts, and we join with the hosts of heaven in praising God.

God is with us, and lives with us, and forms us ever anew. On this day we find peace, as we live in the very real presence and peace that comes from the one sent for us, Jesus. Tonight we remember that what we find and receive must always be found and received together with all those who have been, are now, and ever will be.

Spirit of the Living God, Fall Afresh on Us.