Seeking Good News


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


September 18, 2017


This week's author is Drew Page, News & Media Editor for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
 

Scripture: Exodus 16:2-15 (NRSV)

The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’
 
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’ So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?’ And Moses said, ‘When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.’
 
Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’
 
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

Reflection:

                 
I love my job. People often ask me what I do, and I tell them I'm a journalist with the best gig a journalist can have: I tell good news.
 
But sometimes, I don't feel quite so optimistic. I feel like complaining like the Israelites. I read the news in the morning, and I find death and hatred. Just look at the new prayer request list below. Those are only a fraction of what I find during the week. In then I read stories from the bible like this one, and I think, "We're lost in the wilderness too. Where's our miracle?"
 
Then, I go to work, where I tell good news. I tell stories about people helping those in need. I tell stories about people standing beside those who are oppressed and marginalized. I tell stories of vital churches driven by mission.
 
And I find my miracles.

Prayer:

Dear God: Though we may complain at the horrors we witness in our world, we thank you for the love and grace you continually share through those around us. May we all find a way to share that love and grace with others.
 
Special Prayer Requests:
  • Those grieving for the 24 children and teachers killed in a fire in Malaysia on Sept. 14;
  • Those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a school in Rockford, Washington, which left 1 student dead and 3 wounded on Sept. 13; and
  • Those suffering in London after a crude bomb detonated in the subway on Sept. 15.
 
Continuing Requests:
  • Those grieving or suffering in the Caribbean and Florida after the effects of Hurricane Irma, which caused massive destruction of property last week and over the week end (September);
  • the people of Mexico, where an 8.2 magnitude earthquake killed over 90 people and leveled many parts of Mexico on Sept. 7;
  • the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
  • the family and friends of Rev. Fred Atwood-Lyon, retired USS pastor, who died on Aug. 27;
  • those grieving or suffering in Mumbai, India after a building collapsed, killing more than 30 and injuring many others on September 1;
  • the people of South Asia where flooding has lead to more than 1200 deaths in recent weeks (August);
  • those in Texas and surrounding areas affected by Hurricane Harvey which made landfall on August 26;
  • those grieving or suffering after a vehicle attack in Barcelona on August 17;
  • the family and friends of John Polglase, the spouse of Columbia pastor Rev. Betsey Polglase. John died on August 21;
  • a prayer of joy following the celebration on August 26 at Silver Lake Conference Center honoring 60 years of outdoor ministry;
  • those grieving or suffering after a train derailed in northern India, killing 23, on August 19;
  • those missing or injured after a U.S. Naval Vessel collided with an oil tanker on August 21;
  • the family and friends of Michele Reed Van Epps, wife of Rev. John Van Epps, Archivist for the CT Conference and pastor of Ivoryton Congregational Church. Michele died on August 19;
  • those grieving or suffering after violence caused one death and numerous injuries in Charlottesville, VA, when white supremacists and anti-hate groups clashed on August 12;
  • those grieving for the two Virginia state policemen killed in a helicopter crash on Aug. 12;
  • those grieving in Sierra Leone after mudslides killed more than 500 people on Aug. 14;
  • those grieving for 3 soldiers after a U.S. military place crashed off the shores of Australia on Aug. 5;
  • Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
  • the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
  • the people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
  • the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
  • 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; 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:

Stafford Springs
Second Congregational Church of Stafford, UCC

Carl F. Reynolds - P
 
Stamford
North Stamford Community Church

Jacqueline Gilchrist - SP
 
Stamford
The First Congregational Church of Stamford

Todd Grant Yonkman - DT
 
Stamford
Union Memorial UCC

Blaine A. Edele - P
 
Stonington
United Church of Stonington UCC

Lori Peach-Filban – P
 

The Spirit Calendar: September 18, 2017 , by Drew Page.