This week's author is the Rev. Tamara Moreland, Northwest Central Regional Minister for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!' When he saw them, he said to them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, 'Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.'
At a meeting last week, our worship leader facilitated a discussion on the importance of being thankful to others for gestures of kindness and good works. Discussions ensued with story-sharing and with participants anecdotally telling of times when we were thankful or when someone was thankful for something we had done. I shared about how someone had recently thanked me in a very public way in a Facebook post. For me, that experience was somewhat uncomfortable. This discomfort stemmed from my having grown unaccustomed to receiving such profound thanksgiving for professionally participating in the mission and ministry of Christ Jesus. It seemed odd to be thanked for doing that to which I had been called by God. Interestingly, as a matter of course, I encourage family and friends with a lesson learned from childhood, "Please and thank you are magic words." It seems as if that lesson has become lost amidst daily responsibilities and distractions. Having remembered the importance of those magic words, my healing towards joyfully accepting thanksgiving has begun.
Upon the recognition of his healing, this once leprous Samaritan in our scripture passage, had turned back and away fro
m the distractions and toward Jesus. He maintained his focus and simply said to Jesus, "Thank you." These transforming words of thanksgiving reflected the Samaritan's complete healing. This once leprous individual was remembering the one to whom praise was due for his healing. "Thank you for healing me Jesus," he said. He excitedly expressed thanks! Paraphrasing, I hear, "Thank you for extending yourself to a foreigner, one who is doubly unclean. Thank you for hearing my cry for pity. Thank you for seeing me; for looking at me and speaking words of life to me. Thank you!"
O' Give thanks, friends, to our God. We give you thanks for this sacred story of thanksgiving, and pray that it be an example for us as we seek to live fully as disciples of Christ. Amen.
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; and
the safety of children and families in our communities as they celebrate Halloween today.
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;
the friends and family of Rev. Paul Bomely, former pastor at Oxford UCC, who died on August 5;
those effected by a fire that destroyed the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, CA on October 1;
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;
the Rev. Dr. Don Westerberg, Pastoral Counselor in New Milford, who recently received a lung transplant and is recovering;
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storrs Congregational Church UCC
Matthew C. Emery - SP
Nancy B. McLaren - AP
Patricia Snyder - MM
Storrs Korean Church UCC
Ho Jun Chang - P
First Congregational Church of Stratford
Edward Preston Rawls - SP
Douglas H. Halley - SU
Margaret B. Williams - AP
Lordship Community Church UCC
Jeffrey Lukens - P
First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC
Bridget Fidler - SP
Diann Bailey - AP
The Spirit Calendar: October 31, 2016 , by Tamara Moreland.