May 06, 2019
By Candace Whitman.
Rev. Candace Whitman is the Pastor of Union Chapel on Fishers Island, an island off the coast Connecticut.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Lauren Winner in Wearing God relates a practice of African-Americans during the days of the Jim Crow south. When family members traveled a distance, they couldn’t be sure they would be able to get food along the way. They weren’t welcome at roadside restaurants. So they would need to take quite a bit of food with them, and some have shared fond memories of how when they were young girls, they would stay up late with their mother the night before a trip, packing sustenance in shoe boxes – “fried chicken, peanut butter and jelly, deviled eggs, chocolate layer cake, nuts, raisins and cheese.” All this with a thermos of lemonade. People without a lot to eat themselves provided for those who would otherwise have nothing. Lovingly. They scotch-taped names on each box so any special requests wouldn’t get mixed up. The children came to understand that this was a way of equipping loved ones for a dangerous journey; of sending them out with blessing. An effective strategy for survival, for sure. In some places, women would get word that people they knew were traveling through their towns by train, and they would pack food to take to the station at the right time and hand it to them through the window. Laws prohibited African-Americans from being served food on trains, even by African-American Pullman Porters – and so a box of food that could last without refrigeration was manna from heaven.
None of us truly know what God prepares for us in our journeys. But from the sound of Psalm 23, what God prepares is good: guidance, a place to rest, a foaming cup, a sumptuous feast. Even when our journeys take a turn in the shadows, we have the gift of God’s presence. Psalm 23 doesn’t let us mistake God’s care for us like a sentimental wish on greeting card: God is a wise and sturdy shepherd, the welcoming host of our eternal home. All we can do is receive God’s love wherever our feet take us, and pass on its reality to others on their own journeys.
Lord, open our eyes to your generous provision in our lives. May we express our gratitude by receiving it fully, and sharing it with a world in need of you. Amen.
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.
North Haven Congregational UCC
North Madison Congregational Church, UCC
North Stonington Congregational Church
Northford Congregational Church, UCC
First Congregational Church, UCC
This Week in History:
May 9, 1974, (45 years ago) The House Judiciary Committee began impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon for a scandal involving a burglary of the Democratic National Convention offices. Nixon resigned from office in August of the same year.
Starting With Scripture: May 06, 2019 , by Candace Whitman.