The Spirit Calendar
A Weekly Devotional from the Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ
February 20, 2017
This week's author is the Rev. Da Vita "Day" McCallister, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership and Vitality for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Scripture: Matthew 17:1-4 (NRSV)
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
I've had my fair share of mountain top experiences. I used to travel to the Southeast and Southern Conference Youth Ski Retreat every Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and my time away with those young people transformed me every time. Every CTUCC Youth Revival has been a mountain top experience (I hope you have marked your calendar for April 30th). I had a mountain top experience this past weekend when I sat with my mother and she told me about her teenage years on my great grandfather's farm. In each experience, something that had been right in front of me was revealed anew.
While Peter was on the mountain top, he exclaimed, "It is good for us to be here." Peter recognized the power and pleasure of mountain top experiences. Lately, I too have come to not only except but to search out the things in my work and personal life that cause me DELIGHT. I have been free from the fear of accepting pleasure in my life for quite some time. I grew up in a religious tradition that saw words like passion and pleasure as problematic, especially for women. But I learned through the hard work of many womanist theologians to honor the power and necessity of pleasure. Yet, it took me a little longer to seek these moments in my work.
There are so many things to do and so many people who want to add to my already full "to do list." There are causes that require my attention, letters I have to write, sermons I must preach, calls that should be made, programs to evaluate, ministries to strengthen, meetings to lead, prayers to be prayed — and I should probably eat. The strength and desire to do ALL of these things comes from my mountain top experiences. If I don't search for the places where I can be present to Spirit and Spirit can be present to me; if I don't take the time away to allow the Holy One to reveal what has been in front of me all along in my relationships, my work and my mistakes; if I don't take the time to acknowledge that it is GOOD to be here, whatever here maybe, I won't have the strength to attend to my "to do list" or the compassion to care.
Holy One, we are beckoned by the work, we are called to minister and it is GOOD to take time away. Help me to return to the mountain, in the midst of my valley experiences, to gain perspective, to embrace my own passion and pleasure and to see the world and my place in it anew. Amen
Special Prayer Requests:
- the people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
- the people of Pakistan where more than 100 people have been killed in militant attacks in the past week; and
- Richard "Ned" Bunell, member of First Congregational Church of Canton Center, who was hospitalized for an illness and is now recovering.
- the people of southern Louisiana, after tornadoes struck the area on Feb. 7;
- those residents around Lake Oroville, CA, who were evacuated for safety reasons after authorities found erosion at the Oroville Dam on Feb. 7 causing concerns of partial failure of a spillway;
- the family and friends of Frank McCaffrey, who died on Feb. 7. Frank is the father of Rev. Matt McCaffrey, Pastor of Waterford Congregational UCC;
- the family of Neva Arno Weber, who passed away on Feb 6. Neva is the daughter of Larry Arno, husband of Rev. Shannon Rye Wall;
- John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
- the family and friends of Rebecca Hardee, wife of the Rev. Dr. Brian C. Hardee, Pastor of West Avon Congregational Church. Rebecca died on Jan. 31;
- the people of Quebec City, Quebec after a gunmen attacked a mosque in the city killing 6 people on Jan. 29;
- 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 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;
- 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: email@example.com
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational Church, UCC
Patricia Kriss - P
Iglesia Hispana Unida De Cristo
Juana J. Villavicencio - P
King Street UCC
Paul E. Bryant-Smith - P
South Killingly Congregational Church UCC
Kevin Williams - P
Westfield Congregational Church UCC
Jonathan Chapman - P
Amy Devolve - CE
The Spirit Calendar:
February 20, 2017
Da Vita McCallister.