Penchant For Redemption


The Spirit Calendar

A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ


September 19, 2016


This week's author is the Rev. Dr. Thomas Clough, Eastern Regional Minister for the Connecticut Conference.

Scripture: Jeremiah 32:15(NRSV)

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

Reflection:

No one had ever accused Jeremiah of being a "Company Man." His lamentations about the state of the nation earned him subterranean incarceration to prevent his dissent from becoming contagious. Then in the midst of national collapse, he was inspired by God to purchase the family farm out in the suburb of Anathoth, which just happened to be occupied by the Babylonian army at the time. Transformed from critic to cheerleader, Jeremiah offers us a glimpse of God's penchant for redemption.

As a part-time pastor of a small but dying rural congregation, I was once blessed with a Trustees Chairman renowned for his frugality. Yet the image that I retain of him is not the way he could incessantly describe in excruciating detail just how financially threatened we were. Instead, I remember the warm smile on his face the Sunday after the new metal roof was installed over the sanctuary. During the announcements he came forward waving the fifty year warranty, offering its custody to anyone among that aged gathering who thought they might be around long enough to make sure that the terms were honored. Contrary to all his better business-based instincts, he had agreed to invest in the continued presence of this fragile congregation. In so doing, he had given us all a glimpse of God's penchant for redemption.

Sometimes God just cracks me up!

Prayer:

Holy God, we thank you for the gift of hope that brings us up out of despair and into the joy of your laughter.

Special Prayer Requests:

New Requests

Please remember:

Those injured when a bomb exploded in New York City on July 17, injuring nearly 30; and
the family and friends of Rachel Ciba Markowitz, daughter of Rev. Michael Ciba and Diane Ciba, who died on Sept 16.

Continuing Requests

Please remember:

the family and friends of Rev. Aubrey Murphy, Associate Pastor Emeritus of First Congregational Church of Bristol, and member of East Granby Congregational Church, who died on August 30;
the family and friends of C. Freeman Reynolds, father of the Rev. Carl Reynolds, pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Stafford, longtime member of the First Church of Christ in Farmington, and former member of the Lay, Life and Leadership Committee for the Conference. Mr. Reynolds died recently at age 98;
the family and friends of Andrew Leclaire, Sr. nephew of Steve Gilson and Cecile Gilson, Executive Assistant to the Conference Minister, who lost his battle with ALS on August 28th;
the family and friends of Rev. Robert Lane, retired UCC minister, who died on August 15;
the Rev. Barbara Frey, Coordinator of Christian Education at the Spring Glen CC in Hamden, whose mother died on August 13;
those grieving or suffering in Turkey after a suicide bomber attacked a wedding killing more than 50 guests on August 20;
those effected by wildfires in western regions of our nation;
those grieving or suffering after a flash flood in Maryland killed two and destroyed dozens of buildings and vehicles on Aug. 30;
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;
Rev. Pat Kriss, Pastor of First Congregational Church in Danbury, who is recovering from an injury;
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;
members and Staff of the United Congregational Church of Tolland as they minister to church and community grieving a tragic loss;
the Rev. Dr. Don Westerberg, Pastoral Counselor in New Milford, who recently received a lung transplant and is recovering;
Ewan, grandson of the Rev. Price van der Swaagh, an ordained minister in this conference, as he is treated for leukemia;
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

Plymouth
First Congregational Church of Plymouth
William W. Hawley ? P

Portland
First Congregational Church, UCC
Jane E. Hawken - P
Ann Labby ? CE

Prospect
Prospect Congregational Church, UCC
Stanley E. Youngberg - IN
Debi Mastroni-Kenyon ? OL

Putnam
Congregational Church of Putnam UCC
Thomas H. Meyer ? P

Redding
First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC
Dean C. Ahlberg - SP
Nikki Foster - CE
Mark Cherry - MM


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The Spirit Calendar: September 19, 2016 , by Thomas Clough.