Maintaining The Light


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


January 30, 2017


This week's author is the Rev. Michelle Hughes, Associate Conference Minister for Transitions for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
 

Scripture:  Matthew 5:13-20 (NRSV)

'You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
 
'You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
 
'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Reflection:                

As I sit down to write this reflection, I can’t help but think about the Women’s Marches that occurred across the world on Jan. 21, 2017.  It was a gathering of those who were indeed the salt of a movement, and people of good will and faith lit up the world. People everywhere were shining in their embrace of their neighbors, in their standing up for the marginalized and affirming the maligned.  I want to offer these words from a 1955 Hanukkah Message of the Jewish Theological Seminary (amended to make it less patriarchal of course) as an encouragement to continue to let the light shine in these contentious times.
 
“Throughout history children of darkness have tried to smother this passage of light from person to person. Throughout history dictators, large and small, have tried to diminish and separate people by force. But always in the end they fail. For always somewhere in the world the light remains, ready to burns its brightest where it is dark; a light that began when God created the world… And every free people has remained free by resisting those who would extinguish in people the light of freedom, the light of love the light of truth... To do our daily part to increase this light, we must remember; a candle alone is a small thing, a person alone a small thing, a nation alone a small thing...”
 

Prayer:

Walk beside us Lord as we endeavor to be your people. Teach us to feed those things which grow: mercy, justice, compassion, and patience in our hearts. Remove from our spirit those things which cause ourselves and others to stumble in darkness. Touch our mind, our hearts, and lives so we may be the salt of the earth.
 

Special Prayer Requests:

New Requests:
 
  • The people of Quebec City, Montreal after a gunmen attacked a mosque in the city killing 6 people on Jan. 29; and
  • those refugees whose hope of reaching the safety of the U.S. have been shattered by the 120 day halt to refugee visas issues last week.
 
Continuing Requests:
 
  • The Rev. Joseph Tobin Jr., pastor of Church Of Christ, Congregational in Goshen, whose mother, Raimonda Tobin, died on Jan. 19 ;
  • the Rev. Micki Nunn-Miller, who had knee surgery on Jan. 17;
  • Debi Mastroni Kenyon, Director of Faith Formation at Monroe Congregational Church, who had surgery on Jan. 18;
  • The Rev. John Livingston, senior pastor of the United Church of Rowayton, whose father, Wes Livingston, died on January 11.
  • those grieving after a Turkish cargo place crashed in Kyrgyzstan leaving 37 dead on Jan. 16;
  • those suffering or grieving in Florida after a gunmen killed 5 and injured several others in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6;
  • the people of Northern California and Nevada who are struggling with severe floods after a winter storm stuck on Jan. 6-7;
  • the friends and family of the Rev. Dr. Evans F. Sealand, Jr., former Board member and Archivist of the CT Conference, who died on Dec. 29
  • the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
  • those grieving or suffering in Turkey after a New Years' Eve attack by a gunman left 39 dead and more injured;
  • the people of Iraq after several bombings a left more than 50 dead and many more injured during the last week of December;
  • those grieving in Brazil after a prison riot left 60 dead and sparked a gang war in the city of Manaus on Jan. 1 ;
  • the Rev. Da Vita McCallister, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership & Vitality, who is recovering from surgery on Dec. 16;
  • Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
  • Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
  • Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
  • the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
  • our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
  • 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 Drew Page at: drewp@ctucc.org.
 

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

 
Broad Brook
Broad Brook Congregational Church

Carol Lewis - P
 
Brookfield
Congregational Church of Brookfield

Bryn Smallwood-Garcia - P
Jennifer Lynn Whipple - AP
Barbara Crandell - CE
Susan Ronan - OL
Des Desmond - PE
 
Brooklyn
Federated Church of Christ UCC

Mary Little Apicella – P
 
Burlington
Congregational Church of Burlington

Wendell M. Taylor - P
Christopher Dabbo - MM
 
Canterbury
First Congregational Church of Canterbury, UCC

Cheryl A. Caronna - P
 

The Spirit Calendar: January 30, 2017 , by Michelle Hughes.