Fear and Confusion - A Prayer

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on August 25, 2020

The events in Kenosha add to our fear and confusion. What happened to Jacob Blake? How should we respond to these events? Violence is producing more violence. Will violence engulf my life? The lives of those whom I love?

The words of King Jehoshaphat in our reading from two days ago echo in my mind and heart: “We do not know what we ought to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Prayer

LORD, Savior God, one who is merciful and loving to us even though we do not deserve it, our eyes are on you. LORD, you created us all of one race. We are all descended from Adam. We are all survivors from Noah’s family. Your desire is that we are all perfectly united again through faith in our mother Eve’s Promised Child. Be merciful to us and hear our prayer!

Our eyes are on you! Help us understand the systemic racism that so many citizens experience. Give us wisdom to find an appropriate Christian response. Give us ears to hear the pain of our fellow citizens. Bring peace to our streets. Protect both those who protest and the public servants who are seeking to protect life and property. Give wisdom to our elected leaders. Bring healing to the racial divisions within our nation.

LORD, let that healing flow from your Church so that Your Name might be glorified and Your Kingdom come to many others. Amen.

Fear and Confusion in the Past

Fear and confusion were present in the Jerusalem streets in our New Testament lesson (read Acts 21:15-36 here). Paul was falsely accused of disregarding the temple laws. A crowd formed. Violence erupted. Paul didn’t know in the moment how all of this was going to work out, just as we don’t know how current events are going to work out according to God’s plan. As we read on in Acts, we will see that Paul suffers much, but God’s plan is still marching forward. The gospel is proclaimed before kings and princes. Lord Jesus, give us that confidence as we live through our own tumultuous times.

Our Old Testament reading (find Hosea 1-3 here) speaks to a nation that was at the height of its power and material wealth under King Jeroboam II of Israel. About 760 BC, everything seemed to be going Israel’s way. Hosea’s message is one of coming judgment. In just one lifetime, this mighty nation will be destroyed by the Assyrians. Why this judgment? Because Israel had forsaken her first love. The LORD’s undeserved love for an unfaithful people is illustrated by Hosea’s own personal life.

In the midst of our fear and confusion, let us search our own hearts. What is the LORD teaching us by pandemic and protests? LORD, forgive us for our unfaithfulness! May the LORD’s promise be fulfilled in us and in our nation. LORD, make us faithful to you.

Bow and sword and battle
    I will abolish from the land,
    so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I. [the LORD,] will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord (Hosea 2:18-20).

Another Call to Listen

"Be quick to listen" (James 1). You may wish to revisit the conversation that Pastor Hein of St. Marcus had with three black men in his congregation early in June. Find “George Floyd: Advancing the Conversation as Christians” here.

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Pete

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