Arise! Shine in the Darkness!


December 31, 2018

By Frank Basler.

Rev. Frank Basler is coach, therapist, spiritual companion, and facilitator of clergy groups.


Scripture: Isaiah 60:1-6 (NRSV)

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
 
Lift up your eyes and look around;
   they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
   and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
   your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
   the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
   the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
   all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
   and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord

Reflection: Arise! Shine in the Darkness!

You’ve probably seen youngsters bringing gold and frankincense up to the chancel as they follow a sparkling star during Epiphany Sunday pageants.  What happens after the service or pageant?  The star on its wooden pole is put away for another year.  It’s light has come, and back into storage its light goes.
 
Arise, shine.  In these dark days when hundreds of millions of people are homeless world-wide in places like Yemen, The Tijuana border, and Paradise, California – in these dark days the light seems to be back in storage.
 
Fleming Rutledge, in her recent article in the Christian Century, subtitles her piece, “Divine Absence and the Light Inaccessible.” (September 12, 2018)  She notes that God seemed absent when so many children and teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then points out that every one of their funerals was held in a house of worship.  She writes,
 

Something or Someone drew the bereaved families deeper into the midst of the communities that continue to trust God even when he has hidden himself.  Incomprehensible as it may seem, God is alive in the faith of his people wherever they are and in whatever condition.


Arise, shine….  Lift up your eyes and look around.  See that God’s people are bringing light to the darkness as they respond to the needs of the desperate and the despairing.  People who were already homeless in the area around Paradise, California, “…are actually teaching the people who have never been homeless how to survive… how to stay safe in the tents, where to find food, and how to keep warm..." (1)

 
(1)“Victims of Wildfire Join the Homeless, Worsening a Crisis,” New York Times, Dec. 4, 2018, p. A11
 

Prayer:

Holy One, may our churches be light-bearers as together we “…deliver the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.”  Amen.  (Psalm 72:1 in Jan. 6 lectionary.)


New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at drewp@ctucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For those in central and eastern parts of the U.S. affected by last week's severe storms

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For blessing and hope that the New Year may bring
  • For those who work in emergency services at all hours in all conditions for the safety of others

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

East Windsor
First Congregational Church of East Windsor, UCC
 
East Woodstock
East Woodstock Congregational Church UCC
 
Easton
Congregational Church of Easton Inc UCC
 
Ellington
Ellington Congregational Church UCC
 
Enfield
Enfield Congregational Church UCC



This Week in History:
Jan. 6, 1838, (180 years ago) Samuel Morse demonstrates the first telegraph in Morristown, N.J. Five years later, he would demonstrate the device again from D.C. to Baltimore in an attempt to convince Congress to fund the first U.S. telegraph line. In May 1844, Morse sent the first official telegram over the line, with the message: “What hath God wrought!”

Starting With Scripture: December 31, 2018 , by Frank Basler.