Champions League, Drive-Through Prayer and Donna Summer
A regular Friday round-up of articles which I have found interesting / thought-provoking / challenging / amusing during the week, pointing you in the direction of some stuff you might have otherwise missed.
It may have escaped your attention, but it’s a big weekend for Chelsea. Little more than 24 hours away from the Champions League final I am getting a bit nervous . . .
The scene of Chelsea’s recent triumph at the FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, is the venue for the National Day of Prayer and Worship on 29th September 2012, bringing together Christians from many different backgrounds, denominations, streams and traditions to pray, worship and seek God. At the recent Baptist Assembly, the new President of the Baptist Union, Chris Duffett, said:
We are called to be people of prayer and evangelism . . . I want to encourage as many Baptist Christians as possible to join me at Wembley Stadium.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, who attended previous Stadium Events at West Ham and Millwall said:
I’m delighted to be joining thousands of Christians of all denominations and backgrounds, united in common purpose in the most important act of Christian worship – the act of prayer. So much of the good that is done in London is done by people of faith. I salute these acts of service, and commend all those who put their faith in action to effect positive change in our city and beyond.
Maybe some of us from Faversham could go up to represent the town? One way we are all being encouraged to prepare is by stopping whatever we are doing and praying the Lord’s Prayer at noon every day.
Here’s another way to pray. Every Friday the Christian Life Centre in Fort Lauderdale are offering “drive-through” prayer to the motorists of Florida (there are also similar schemes in Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and California). Volunteers hold placards advertising prayer for commuters on any issue, whether it is a bad day, a divorce or a fight with cancer. Drivers pull in for a quick prayer with one of the volunteers. I guess in an age of instant everything it’s almost inevitable.
Those in favour of the idea say:
People don’t like institutional structures, especially those connected with religion. They want spirituality, but they don’t want to pay for the lights and water. So the church is trying to meet people where they are.
To a casual observer, it may seem like it’s cheapening faith. But it’s truly an additional opportunity to connect with people at the time of their need.
But Christian Piatt has concerns:
Christ calls us to get over ourselves, placing God and others first, but how can we do that if we’re simply fitting faith in between a stop for a vanilla latte and the next tank of gas? . . . I know, discipline is a four-letter word in today’s culture of instant gratification. We want shoes that build up our calves while we walk around the house, a workout regimen that gives us washboard abs in less than seven minutes and a diet based centrally on the idea of eating chocolate. We want the results without the discipline, and if faith leaders succumb to this trend, replacing spiritual discipline with these new approaches rather than considering them simply an entry-point into something deeper, then they’re simply peddling the next quick-fix product in an effort to try and stay relevant.
And if drive-through prayer is not enough, how about drive-through funerals? Only in America.
If you’re struggling along at the moment and need a bit of encouragement, then read Another race to swim. God hasn’t finished with you yet.
Finally, it was sad to hear this morning of the death of Donna Summer at the age of 63. Like so many of her ilk, she began singing at an early age in her church choir and she went on to win five Grammy Awards. After a difficult period in her life she said in 2008:
I went to church and light came back into my soul. That heaviness was gone.