New Heaven / New Earth


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


November 07, 2016


This week's author is Cecile Gilson, Executive Assistant to the Conference Minister of the Connecticut Conference, UCC.


Scripture:  Isaiah 65:17-25  (CEB)

 
Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth:
    past events won’t be remembered;
    they won’t come to mind.
Be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I’m creating,
    because I’m creating Jerusalem as a joy
    and her people as a source of gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad about my people.
    No one will ever hear the sound of weeping or crying in it again.
No more will babies live only a few days,
    or the old fail to live out their days.
The one who dies at a hundred will be like a young person,
    and the one falling short of a hundred will seem cursed.
They will build houses and live in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They won’t build for others to live in,
    nor plant for others to eat.
Like the days of a tree will be the days of my people;
    my chosen will make full use of their handiwork.
They won’t labor in vain,
    nor bear children to a world of horrors,
    because they will be people blessed by the Lord,
    they along with their descendants.
Before they call, I will answer;
    while they are still speaking, I will hear.
Wolf and lamb will graze together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    but the snake—its food will be dust.
They won’t hurt or destroy at any place on my holy mountain,
    says the Lord.
 

Reflection:  O' Give Thanks!           

                 
This is a common theme that appears over and over again in our sacred texts. The world was not a good place. Tyrannical rulers dominated, leaders in the faith community were blind to the plight of the people, rich land owners abused their power over the workers, and the masses cried out for justice. The people had lost hope and needed a God that would make all things new.
 
In today’s world I can relate to wanting and needing a God who will make all things new. It is comforting to think that God can fix this, that I have no responsibility or ownership of the world as it is. Sadly, God doesn’t swoop in on a chariot and make all things new. God created me with the will to do the hard work to change the world. God presented me with a model of living and serving in Jesus.
 
So while I live in a state of anxiety this week I will remember that God gives me a path to wholeness. If I remember to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God,” I will do what God requires of me in this time and place. If I share that story with others, the world will become a new heaven and a new earth.
 

Prayer:

Creator God, create in me a new heart that I may share your vision of the world with others. Amen
 

Special Prayer Requests:

New Requests:
the friends and family of the Rev. Dr. Don Westerberg, former pastor of Roxbury Congregational Church, UCC, who died on November 1;
the Rev. Paul Goodman, interim pastor of Plantsville Congregational Church, whose father died on November 3;
the Rev. Edwin Ayala, transitional pastor of Bloomfield Congregational Church, whose mother-in-law died last week; and
a prayer for peace, respect, and prayerful decisions during and following Tuesday's election.
 
Continuing Requests:
the people of Italy who experienced a high magnitude earthquake, their second in 3 months, on October 30;
the friends and family of Rev. Gary Miller, retired UCC pastor and former pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, who died on October 23;
those grieving or suffering after a bus accident in California killed 13 and injured over 30 others on October 23;
the family and friends of Frank A. Manocchio, father for Rev. Donna Manocchio, Associate Pastor at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. Frank died on Oct. 8;
the people of Iraq impacted by the renewed fighting in and around the city of Mosul where Iraqi forces are trying to retake control of the city from ISIS;
Rev. M. John Arens, Pastor of the New Preston Congregational Church, who had surgery on June 28;
Rev. Da Vita McCallister, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership and Vitality, and her family as they face a loss and difficult illness in the family;
The Rev. Sara Smith, pastor of United Congregational Church of Bridgeport, and her sister Ellen, who is recovering from a stroke;
Rev. Kelly Hough Rogers, Associate Pastor of the Norfield Congregational Church in Weston,  whose parents were involved in a tragic car accident.  Kelly’s father, Wallace, has died and her mother, Janet, is hospitalized;
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 Rev. Mary Nelson, South Central Regional Minister of the Connecticut Conference, whose brother is recovering from surgery;
Alisia Selders, daughter of Bishop John Selders, pastor of Amistad UCC in Hartford, in a new round of treatment for cancer;
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:

Taftville
Congregational UCC

Jack M. Shackles Jr - P
 
Terryville
Terryville Congregational Church, UCC

Zachary Scott Mabe - P
Vardell D Swett -PE
Jennifer Zalaski -CE
Daniel Brownell - MM
 
Thompson
Congregational Church of Thompson Inc

Jennifer S. Cook -P
Mary Anne Fontaine - CE
 
Tolland
United Congregational Church of Tolland UCC

Jeffrey Gallagher - SP
Donald G. Miller - PE
Hannah M. Howe - PE
Stephen Lowry -MM
M. Ruth Nye -IN
Robert J. Wright Jr - PE
 
Torrington
Center Congregational UCC

The Spirit Calendar: November 07, 2016 , by Cecile Gilson.