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Pastor's Message

Praying the Headlines 
by Rev. Carleton Giles
It was the renowned theologian Karl Barth whose pairing of the Bible and the newspaper is well known: "we should preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other" is his counsel to preachers. True enough? There may be some caveats to that but I believe that Barth was saying that our preaching should align with the truth of Scripture while at the same time being culturally relevant. And maybe this can be taken a step further. Recently in a cohort of fellow clergy learners we were encouraged each day to "pray the headlines"; really the newspaper in one hand and our prayers on our hearts and lips. What is it in today’s headlines that strike us, that particularly move us as we "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need".(Hebrews 4:16) I believe that there is merit here for all believers, not just clergy members. What if in the morning devotion, our private time with God we also first or simultaneously consulted the morning’s headlines to see what "thing" occurred that particularly moved us, concerned us, bothered us. What jumped off the page of the newspaper or computer screen, phone or tablet into our minds the most about the morning headlines that we would want to pray about? The White House, the State House, the courthouse, international affairs, unrest in some distant land; some celebrity’s difficulty or a long simmering issue that’s back in the news. Some unprovoked violence at a workplace or worship space or some good news feel good story that reminds us that people are inherently good and kind no matter what story makes the paper sell the most. Whatever it is we are confident that God still has the whole world in His hands and whether it makes the headlines or not God knows who we are and where we are; "where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast." (Psalm 139:7- 10) It’s something new, let’s try it and let’s share with each other how it goes; "praying the headlines".

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