|Rev. Barbara J. Libby, Interim Associate Conference Minister for Clergy Concerns|
This week's author is the Rev. Barbara J. Libby, Interim Associate Conference Minister for Clergy Concerns for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?
"Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.
Don't hurt your friend, don't blame your neighbor; despise the despicable.
Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe.
You'll never get blacklisted if you live like this."
Sometimes, when I read one of Eugene Peterson's renderings of a passage from scripture I experience an amazing sense of shock and awe -- the scripture sounds completely new to me, like I've never read it before!
I love that sense of surprise! Psalm 15 is one of the texts for our consideration in the Revised Common Lectionary for this upcoming Labor Day weekend Sunday' If you have not heard Psalm 15 in Eugene Peterson's transliteration, you may well be as surprised as I was!
Did you ever imagine asking God the following: "Who gets invited to dinner at your place, God?"
And what follows is another query to God: "How do we get on your guest list?"
Just imagine for a moment what might be on the menu for a dinner meal with the Almighty! I hope that both lobster and chocolate would be served... and of course, potato chips, with no guilt... and maybe guacamole with really good and crispy corn chips... but I do digress...
The psalmist's words suggest a few simple (nine to be exact) ways of living in this world which we might adopt if we were to expect an invitation to have dinner with God...
And that list is quite interesting -- refreshing and simple, really: live a clean and upright life, tell the truth, don't hurt or blame others, despise the despicable, keep your word, make an honest living, and don't take bribes... It's really a pretty good list!
In a culture that tends to "spin" just about every event and story, where backstabbing and twisting the truth seems to be a matter of course, where the intensity of this election year has heated up the political "game" to a new and disappointingly awful game of rhetoric and sharp barbs... well, you know what I mean: it's not always pleasant to listen to the news these days. Our culture may not value all of the suggestions on this list, but it does suggest that such "good behaviors" do not require us being either a rocket scientist or a Ph.D. in ethics to be acceptable in God's eyes. And that is good news indeed!
In fact, what it reminds us is that God wants to have us over for dinner!
And -- that God makes it quite easy for us to get onto God's guest list!
Holy God -- we hope that your guest list would include us for dinner the next time you plan a dinner party. We are giving it a good try and working on that list of ways to live... We will let you decide how we're doing! And thanks for the list... It helps. Amen.
those in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast; and
students, teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers as schools return to session, may God make it a year of learning, growth, and joy.
those injured or grieving after the shootings in Marikana, South Africa, on August 16;
those struggling to cope with this summer's drought conditions;
the Rev. Stephen Camp, senior pastor of Faith Congregational Church UCC in Hartford, who is recovering from severe injuries suffered in a fall;
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;
the Conference Minister Search Committee as they begin to consider candidates;
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.
Falls Village Cong'l Church
P The Rev. Michelle Wiltshire-Clement
First Church of Christ, Cong'l
P The Rev. Steven Theo Savides - Begins Sept. 9th
IN The Rev. Douglas M. Clark - Finishes Aug. 31st
MM Mr. Edward Clark
CE Ms. Kerry Doherty Laberge
Fishers Island Union Chapel
P The Rev. Pamela Rose Vollinger
Gilead Cong'l Church, Inc.
P The Rev. Denise M. Esslinger
MV The Rev. Edmund J. Meincke
Buckingham Cong'l Church of UCC
P Rev. Lindsey Levenson
CE Ms. Susan Fisher
First Church of Christ, Cong'l
P The Rev. David T. Taylor
PE The Rev. Carl F. Schultz Jr.
MV The Rev. Gordon S. Bates
AP The Rev. Kate VanDerzee-Glidden
CE & Y Mr. Andrew Wicks
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The Spirit Calendar: August 27, 2012 by Rev. Barbara J. Libby, Interim Associate Conference Minister for Clergy Concerns