Shepherd of the Hills
Lutheran Church
3525 Bee Caves Rd Austin, TX
Prayer Vigil for an End to Violence
A Special Message from Pr. Tom
I Don't Know.... a Pastoral Message from Pr. Tom
Don Samuels is an amazing man who has impacted the world in North St. Paul, MN. As a City Councilman and Community Advocate he has been at the leading edge of change in some of the most violent and under-served neighborhoods in the Twin Cities.
Mr. Samuels preaches a "don't know" approach to addressing problems. He believes in doing so, this is where God can break through and change things .

The neighborhoods where he and others have made a difference were grounded in frequent Prayer Vigils. Whenever there was an act of violence, the community would gather to listen to God, one another, and pray. This "don't know" attitude has allowed God to break through in the neighborhoods of North St. Paul in large and small ways.

What to do?
I confess that I need to be more disciplined in my prayer life. When absorbing the horrific news of evil violence in El Paso and Dayton, I feel a sense of "not knowing what to do." Is legislation a panacea in the elimination of gun violence? Of course, this is an important conversation to have but will it change things? Will blaming others and casting stones through social media change anything? Or, might we, people who profess Jesus as the way, truth, and life, take a look in the mirror of our own soul and surrender in prayer.

Why Pray?
Too often we view prayer as simply a ritual in worship, a transaction with God, a passive exercise of our faith. Perhaps prayer must begin in the Spirit of "not-knowing." Our cup can only be filled when it is empty. I have read and heard people say that our response to the senseless killings must go beyond just praying about it. The very human part of me concurs. But, Don Samuels was my witness to how God breaks through bringing about change in his community when we gather to listen to God and to one another. Prayer, real prayer, is always active because it changes me. There is power in prayer!

I confess, I need to pray more. I believe I need to be more attentive in my listening to God and others. And, I believe that as your Pastor I can encourage our church to be a praying congregation. In doing so, God will surely break through!

I invite you to a PRAYER VIGIL where we will gather to pray for the end of violence in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions. There will be a special focus on the communities of El Paso and Dayton and we will conclude as a community in prayer along Bee Cave Rd., signaling our mission to be a "church without walls".

If you feel called to do so, please share the time and place of this vigil with your friends and on your social media outlets. We welcome all.

Peace and Prayers,
Pr. Tom
When? This Thursday, August 8th, 6:30 p.m.
Where? In our Worship Center (Sanctuary)
Who? Anyone at any age is welcome
What? A time of quiet, contemplation, lighting candles, and sharing of scripture
(512) 327-3370