Faith and worship at Jacksonville Presbyterian ChurchYesterday I shared a story told by Peggy Donaldson. She also shared a story from a sermon she once heard where the pastor was on vacation with his wife and nine-year-old son. They were walking along a shopping district, looking in windows and enjoying the day. Their son would run ahead for a bit, and then come back and walk with them. Maybe he would grab their hand for a minute, and then run ahead again.

The pastor made the point that this is what we do when we go to worship. We come back to touch, then we go off into the world on our own.

It is a good analogy. When we worship, come back to give thanks and praise. But we also come back to remember whose we are, and who we are. We re-set our inner compass and are strengthened to go back into the world to love and to serve.

Whether it is a church, a temple, a synagogue, or a prayer group, I hope you have a place where you regularly come back to touch.

Let us pray: God of hope, in this maze of life, it is easy to lose our way. It is easy to get off track and find ourselves far from home. We thank you for the blessing of faith and for people with whom we can share the journey. Help us to make the time and space in our lives to come back into your welcoming presence, to give thanks, and to receive your guidance, grace and strength.

We pray today for people who are literally and figuratively far from home. We ask your protection for women and men overseas serving this country as ambassadors, peace keepers, aid workers, or military personnel. We pray also for friends or neighbors we know are struggling. Draw near to them – and grant them your hope. Amen.