May 07, 2018
By Sue Foster.
The Rev. Susan Foster is pastor of East Woodstock Congregational Church.
Scripture: Psalm 1 (NRSV)
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Here is it – a 3000-year-old warning against fake news: “Do not follow the advice of the wicked.”
There is no shortage of bad advice and discouraging words these days. Many people avoid listening to the news because it causes too much anxiety. A feeling of helpless rage arises amidst reports of heart-breaking shootings, callous neglect of our environment, and blustering threats and name-calling.
The news never stops; our phones vibrate with the latest tweet storm or “urgent” report. The resulting information overload can be physically and emotionally exhausting, leaving us paralyzed by conflicting messages and terrifying news bulletins.
Enough! It is time to “meditate day and night” on the law of the Lord. The psalmist issues a moratorium on that which does not satisfy, on habits which drain our spirits, on things that might fill us up but do not give us any strength.
Instead of constant noise, we are invited to the soothing waters of the river. There we can sink down our roots and be fed by the nurturing love of God. Only then will we be strong enough to “yield our fruit” and respond to the needs all around us.
The psalmist invites us to consider:
· How do you feed your spirit?
· What reliably opens your heart and strengthens your soul?
· What helps you stay rooted even as storms rage all around?
We do not worship a stingy God, who grudgingly allows drops of love, justice, and forgiveness to be supplied. God does not hold back from us. Instead, God is that ever flowing stream, ready to feed our hungry souls and eager to tend our weary spirits. God wants us to “prosper” – not monetarily, but in spirit so that our joy and thanksgiving can overflow.
And if you are feeling a bit parched right about now, what new wells can you tap into? Let us seek out streams of water that feed our spirits. Allow yourself to sink your roots down. Let us drink deeply of God’s goodness.
Refreshing God, help me say “no” to a long list of activity so that I may rest in you. Strengthened by you, help me to share your hope. Amen.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- for the family of the Rev. Jesse Glick, Jr., who served as a sabbatical pastor in Portland and Chester. Jesse died on April 29.
- for those grieving or suffering in northern India after a dust storm collapsed building leaving over 100 dead and many more without homes or electricity.
- Anneli Jacquet, the wife of the Rev. Emile Jacquet, former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Ansonia, who was hospitalized last week.
- those effected by the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which has destroyed many homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- for visits from old friends and opportunities to make new ones.
- for legislators with the courage to act toward justice and fair treatment of undocumented children of immigrants.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Wildermere Beach Congregational UCC
Woodmont United Church of Christ
Monroe Congregational Church UCC
Morris Congregational Church, UCC
Mystic Congregational Church UCC
This Week in History:
May 9, 1914 (104 years ago) President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Mother's Day holiday. Several individual states had been celebrating the holiday prior to 1914, but Wilson lobbied Congress to make the holiday official, marking it on the second Sunday of May each year.
Starting With Scripture:
May 07, 2018