Here and Now


May 24, 2019

By Brenda Pelc-Faszcza.

The Rev. Dr. Brenda M. Pelc-Faszcza is the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Canton Center.


Scripture:   John 17:20-23  The Message (MSG)

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

 

Reflection: Here and Now

In Easter season,
we make the same decision we make on Easter Day –
is it about here and now
or someday?
Are the stories about this world
or another?
Will they matter this afternoon
or only when all our afternoons on earth are over?
I think they matter today,
for here and now,
for the world as we find it
and for the world we are making.
Is this not what Jesus always said to us?
“Don’t be looking off in the sky somewhere for a coming realm of God,
it’s right here in the midst of you” and
“You are [already, right here] the light of the world,
go live like you know that.”
So, what else does it mean when in John’s story,
he prays for all of us to be of one heart and mind,
understanding that Christ is in us and we are in Christ
and God is in all and all is in God
except that he means for us to live like we know this now?
That we have the means to bear witness to it now?
That it’s already who we are now?
What good would a light like that be
if only for another world someday, where we’re all, you know,
much better?  Perfected, even.
Isn’t the light that’s meant for the trying-to-become-Christ-like
needed here and now, while we are on the way to getting it?
Isn’t that when the assurance that God is the midst of us
and we are in the midst of God
turns out to be grace?
And when our fundamental union with each other
turns out to be life?
To know that we can be one long before we are perfect,
and so we lose all excuse for not seeing, not doing, not trying?


Richard Rohr says:
 

“Jesus came to give us the courage to trust and allow
our inherent union with God, and he modeled it for us in this world.
Union is not a place we go to later – if we are good;
union is the place from we come, the place from which
we’re called to live now.
We’ve wasted centuries confusing union with personal perfection.
Union is God’s choice for us in our very imperfect world.
Divine Love has no trouble loving imperfect things!
That’s just our human problem.
If God could only love perfect things,
God would have nothing to do.”


What Jesus did we ever see, who didn’t show us that?
 

Prayer:

God of life and new life, let all that we see, do, think, say and intend today
teach us again that we are not waiting for a some-day reward of union with you, or with Christ, or with each other, but that you have already given us that gift to live inside of, here and now.  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 drewp@ctucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For those suffering of grieving after severe weather struck parts of the mid-Atlantic states and south

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For those who served and died in our nations armed services. We give thanks and remember you.

Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:

Plainville
The Congregational Church of Plainville, UCC
 
Plantsville
Plantsville Congregational UCC
 
Plymouth
First Congregational Church of Plymouth
 
Portland
First Congregational Church, UCC
 
Prospect
Prospect Congregational Church, UCC

 


This Week in History:
MEMORIAL DAY (Last Monday in May)  Holiday honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day and dating back to shortly after the Civil War, it became a federal holiday in 1971.

Starting With Scripture: May 24, 2019 , by Brenda Pelc-Faszcza.