Thursday, May 03, 2018

Night Prayer Continues

And so Sunday night at Zion showed up the Community Service Officer and his wife, and three pastors who had been at the clergy-police meeting. I know others prayed, too, in their places, including some who responded to my Saturday night post's appearance on my Facebook page.

We followed the order for Compline (Prayer at the Close of the Day) as found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, during which I pondered (once again) just how appropriate the daily prayers of the Church are in our real lives. The service isn't designed to take an hour, but drawing upon my experiences with the 40 Days of Prayer, between the night collect and the Our Father I left space and time for free prayers -- spoken or silent -- by those there. Most Lutherans would, of course, be terrified by this. But the others were from black Protestant churches and, though there were moments of silence here and there, they had no problem filling the hour out with heartfelt prayer for the many concerns of those who live, work, and play on the South Side of Peoria. And for the sung parts of Compline, I did hear other voices join me for the hymns and canticles.

I also had some interesting conversations, both before and afterwards, as they wanted to learn more about what and who Lutherans are, how we are different and similar to Catholics and other Christians, and about my experience as a Lutheran pastor in a neighborhood very different from when the congregation was established 120+ years ago, or even 50 years ago.

So, what's next? I told them I'd be back again at 10 o'clock next Sunday night, they were welcome to join me, and I'll keep this up unless someone comes up with a better idea. The people of Zion had only learned of this during worship that morning; no one from the congregation showed up, but one person told me he's planning to join us this Sunday night if he's feeling well. (That's one of those issues with an aging congregation.) I also submitted an announcement to appear in the Faith Bulletin of Sunday's Journal Star.

So join (with) us in Night Prayer for the City, Sunday night from 10 to 11!