|Rev. Ineke K. Mitchell, Northwest Central Regional Minister|
This week's author is the Rev. Ineke K. Mitchell, Northwest Central Regional Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat. So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke -- like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.
They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat -- that's all. And whoever touched him became well.
Have you ever wondered what you would do if you knew Jesus was going to be in the neighborhood? Would you be hungry enough for his presence that you would drop what you were doing and become his groupie? Who would you want to bring to Jesus for healing and wholeness? Yourself? Your family? Your friends? Your congregation?
Reading this weeks' gospel passage made me wonder. The disciples have returned from their fieldwork assignments, and Jesus invites them for some R&R and they try to get away for some rest. Of course it doesn't work. The crowds won't leave them alone (the part left out is, of course, the account of Jesus feeding the multitudes on that hillside with just a few loaves of bread and some fish), and I can't blame them.
Scholars and researchers studying trends in religion and spirituality tell us that the 21st century faith communities which will thrive are the ones able to reclaim the spirit of the Jesus movement as portrayed in today's periscope. Diana Butler Bass in her latest book suggests one way to go about making room for all the people searching for meaning: First, we make room for people to belong who seek community. Second, we show them how people of the Way treat one another. And lastly, we then claim and name the faith that binds us together, and we change the world.
It's worth trying, don't you think? Imagine what is possible!
God, give us the courage to follow Jesus and his Way, so we know that we belong and can be made whole. Amen.
the Rev. Carl F. Schultz, Jr., pastor emeritus of First Church of Christ Congregational UCC in Glastonbury, who is recovering from surgery for a broken hip;
all the staff, volunteer leaders, and conferees at Silver Lake this week; and
the Conference Minister Search Committee as they begin to consider potential candidates.
those grieving, homeless, or temporarily displaced by floods in Krymsk, Russia, over the weekend of July 7th.
those affected by the raging wildfires, those who seek to contain the blazes, those who are temporarily displaced, those who have lost homes, and those who grieve;
the Rev. Dr. Barry Cass, the staff, members, and friends of the Somers Congregational United Church of Christ, which lost its 170-year-old meetinghouse to a devastating fire the night of January 1-2;
the Rev. Alison Buttrick-Patton, the lay leadership, staff, members, friends, and community of the Saugatuck Congregational Church UCC, which suffered severe damage from a substantial fire on the night of November 20;
the Conference's partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery and their communities on the Korean peninsula;
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;
this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, seeking employment, or working to find just resolutions; and
those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
To be added to the prayer list, please send an email to Rev. Eric Anderson at: email@example.com.
Colchester Federated Church
P The Rev. Linda U. Barnes
PE The Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree
CE Ms. Victoria Lankerd
Columbia Cong'l Church, Inc.
P The Rev. Elizabeth H. Polglase
MV The Rev. Robert B. Fichter
CE Ms. Jean W. Murphy
The UCC in Cornwall, Cong'l
P The Rev. Madelon E. Nunn-Miller
PE The Rev. Charles T. Russ
CE Ms. Tracy D. Gray
First Cong'l Church of Coventry
P The Rev. Sara G. Worcester
Y Mr. Mark Larson
Y Ms. Chelsea Ambrozaitis
Second Cong'l Church of Coventry, Inc.
P The Rev. Maria E. Yocum
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The Spirit Calendar: July 16, 2012 by Rev. Ineke K. Mitchell, Northwest Central Regional Minister