MH News June 6, 2019

Washington DC
President Donald Trump showed up unannounced at the McLean Bible Church in the metro Washington DC region and asked for prayer. This was the most public answer to Franklin Graham’s call for prayer for the President for Sunday, June 2. Pastor Platt, reputedly no fan of the President, received the President graciously and offered a two-and-a-half-minute prayer (334 words, more or less). Platt has been a Southern Baptist leader, including stints as pastor in Birmingham and later as president of the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia. The McLean church is not affiliated with Southern Baptists. Platt is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition, a Calvinistic organization of ministers and churches.

 

Prayer for the President, McLean Bible Church, Sunday, June 2, 2019
Pastor David Platt, with President Trump standing beside him.

 

O God, we praise you as the one universal king over all. You are our leader, and our Lord. And we worship you.  There is one God and one Savior, and your name is Jesus, and we exalt you, Jesus.  We know we need your mercy; we need your grace; we need your help; we need your wisdom in our country. And so, we stand right now on behalf of our President, and we pray for your grace and your mercy and your wisdom upon him.

 

God, we pray that he will know how much you love him, so much that you sent Jesus to die for his sins, our sins.

 

So, we pray that he would look to you, that he would trust in you, that he would lean on you, that he would govern and  make decisions in ways that are good for justice and good for righteousness and good for equity, every good path.  Lord, we pray that you would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways that we just saw in First Timothy chapter two, that lead to “peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.”

 

God, we pray for your blessing in that way upon his family. We pray that you will give them strength. We pray that you will give them clarity. Wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Please, O God give him wisdom.

 

Help him to lead our country, alongside other leaders.  We pray today for leaders in Congress, we pray for leaders in courts, we pray for leaders at national and state levels. Please, O God, help us to look to you. Help us to trust in your word.  Help us to seek your wisdom and live in ways that reflect your love and your grace, your righteousness and your justice.  We pray for your blessings on our President toward that end.

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

 

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hundreds gathered to remember and celebrate the life of Rachel Held Evans, who died unexpectedly at the age of 37 three weeks ago. The service was held in a United Methodist Church, largely followed the order of the Episcopal Book of Prayer, and featured a sermon by the iconic Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. Others spoke, including Brian Evans, who served as Rachel’s youth pastor two decades ago. Hundreds more followed the service as it was web-cast live. Evans had become a powerful and influential voice in the progressive Protestant Christian movement, writing books and blogs that were widely read. She died of an infection while in a comatose state following episodes of brain seizures.

 

Chicago, Illinois
Lutheran pastor Betty Rendón and her husband, Carlos Hincapié, were transported to Louisiana over Memorial Day weekend before being put on a plane to Colombia on Tuesday morning. They had been arrested on May 8 after their request for asylum had been denied and all appeals had been exhausted. Rendon was a student at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and student pastor of Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin—a Spanish-speaking congregation where Rendon led worship and performed baptisms. She had fled her native Columbia in 2004 during the Civil War but the United States denied her application for asylum.  She leaves behind in the United States an adult daughter and a grandchild.

 

Ft. Worth, Texas
The struggle over gay inclusion/exclusion in both the Anglican and Methodist branches of the Christian Church continued on separate fronts. The North Texas Conference of the United Methodist defied the recently reaffirmed ban on gay clergy by ordaining Jane Garner to the ordained ministry. Garner is both a lift-long Methodist and, since high school forty years ago, an out-of-the-closet gay person. “This has taken a long time to get here,” she said with tears running down her face,” and it feels wonderful.” Half a world away, some African Episcopal clergy in the world-wide Anglican Communion have announced they will boycott the two-year-delayed Lambeth Conference due to the inclusion of gay bishops.

 

Everywhere
Muslims celebrated the end of their annual month-long festival known as Ramadan. It occurred on June 4, with the feast known as Eid al-Fitr, which is translated from the Arabic as “the feast of the breaking of the fast.”  Ramadan is celebrated by many of the one billion Muslims in the world; they comprise about two percent of the American population. Ramadan is a lunar celebration which means its actual dates rotate throughout the year, moving earlier in the calendar each year. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with charity, prayer, the confession, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. During the daylight hours of Ramadan, faithful Muslims abstain from food and sex.