|Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister|
This week’s author is the Cecile Gilson,
Assistant to the Conference Minister.
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Advent is upon us. This is a time of waiting and hoping, of visions of peace and justice that will come with the arrival of the Messiah. It is also a time when this vision is crowded out by images of conflict and terror, of shopping and rushing around to create that “perfect” holiday experience for our families and friends.
We have strayed so far from the vision that Isaiah paints in this passage. Walter Brueggemann has likened today's beautiful Scripture to the "I have a dream" speech of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just as in Dr. King’s day, we experience injustice on a daily basis. Unemployment is higher that it has been in a long time; the disparity between those who have money and those who do not has widened to an alarming level; conflicts abound around the world; it is harder and harder for us to have reasoned conversations with people of differing political or religious ideologies.
Advent reminds us that this vision from Isaiah and from Dr. King is achievable if we “walk in the light of the Lord!” Jesus has come to us as the light that will guide us to a world of peace and justice. As we light the candle of hope on the first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that Jesus comes to us each day in our actions and interactions with others. We are told again to live each day as God would have us live: with honesty, with love, and with a search for those virtues in others.
Creator God, today we give thanks for the prophets among us, who bring to us surprising new visions of hope, who challenge us to think outside the box, who show us a future we never anticipated. Amen.
The miners trapped since Nov. 19 in New Zealand, and their families.
the Rev. Margaret Minnick, rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Middletown and wife of the Rev. David Minnick, interim senior pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Vernon, as she faces surgery and follow-up therapy for breast cancer;
the family and friends of David T. Hindinger, Jr., husband of the Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, former Connecticut Conference Minister, who died on November 11 at the age of 68;
the Rev. Douglas A. Miller, interim minister in this conference, as he recovers from knee surgery after an accident;
the family and friends of Dr. Robbins Wolcott Barstow, Jr., co-recipient with his wife Margaret of the 1999 Living Waters Award, who died on November 7 at the age of 91;
the family and friends of Margaret Rowland "Peg" Post, UCC educator and writer and wife of former UCC President the Rev. Avery Post, who died on November 7 at the age of 85;
the nation of Myanmar, that the release of Aung San Suu Kyi may bring greater freedom to her fellow citizens;
the family and friends of Libbie Hart Hughes, mother of Tim Hughes, co-director of Silver Lake Conference Center, who died on October 31 at the age of 87;
the Rev. Peter Dakers, pastor of the Falls Village Congregational Church UCC, recovering from surgery at home;
the Rev. Dr. Ron Brown, Associate Conference Minister for Clergy Concerns, who has been called as senior pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Southington, with prayers for their ministry together and for all the members of the Conference who have valued his service;
the nation of Indonesia beset by volcanic eruptions and tsunami;
those injured and grieving after terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, and Baghdad, Iraq;
John Lamoureaux, brother of Diane Ciba and brother-in-law to the Rev. Michael Ciba, Valley/Northwest Regional Minister, who is facing multiple health issues;
the people of Haiti in the cholera epidemic, and the people who seek to aid them;
Ken Esposito, health care organizer with the Christian Activities Council, who has been diagnosed with cancer;
Bonnie Odiorne, spouse of the Rev. Dr. Raymond Odiorne, who is suffering from vision problems;
US Army Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Carroll, son of the Rev. Carla Dietz Carroll, associate pastor at the United Church of Rowayton, UCC, and her husband John Carroll, who is stationed in Afghanistan; Sgt. Carroll and his wife have a six-month-old son Charlie;
Ruth Addison, retired former Treasurer of the Connecticut Conference, as she struggles with ongoing health concerns;
the Rev. Noel Velez, former Minister of Hispanic Ministries in the Connecticut Conference, recovering from surgery in Florida;
the people of Pakistan affected by the flooding: the grieving, the homeless, the hungry, and the sick;
those Connecticut Muslims targeted with hateful words and slogans;
this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
the Conference's partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery and their communities on the Korean peninsula, with prayers for peace;
the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, confronting the loss of a job, or working to find just resolutions to the crisis; and
those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, and the Sudan.
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Rev. Eric Anderson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Cong'l Ch of Litchfield
P The Rev. David Rockness
Milton Cong'l Church
IN The Rev. Raymond J. Odiorne
First Cong'l Ch of Lyme
P The Rev. Steven E. Burt
Lyme (1220 M )
Grassy Hill Cong'l Church
First Cong'l Ch of Madison
P The Rev. J. Christopher Nichols
MV The Rev. Boyd M. Johnson Jr.
CE Ms. Candice Guerette
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The Spirit Calendar: November 22, 2010 by Cecile Gilson, Assistant to the Conference Minister