This week's author is TJ Harper, Associate for Racial Justice Ministries for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Scripture: Psalm 85:12 (NIV)The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Reflection:Our land. Not your land -- not my land. Our land. In 2017, our land is dry, depleted, and dilapidated. Thirty percent of Americans in Puerto Rico still do not have access to water; our land is dry. Approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants’ living status in this country remains uncertain; our land is depleted.
Forty-six percent of African American children (under age 6) live in poverty; our land is dilapidated. But the quality of the land is not mentioned in this text. Clearly, if our land is not fertile, then it will not yield a harvest. Surely, if our land, country, does not reinstate its moral zeal, it will not prosper.
The lacking quality of our land does not matter, because of the quality of our God. “The Lord will indeed give what is good.” Indeed. So even though there have been some rough times on our land over these past few months, “The Lord will indeed give what is good.” Even though there might have been some sadness and somber hearts on our land, “The Lord will indeed give what is good.” Even when it seems that all is lost and it makes no sense to press forward on our land, “The Lord will indeed give what is good.”
The second part of the verse says, “And our land will yield its harvest.” The text does not say our land might yield its harvest, or it could yield its harvest; the text says, “And our land will yield its harvest.” That means without a doubt, rest be assured, there will be a harvest. There will be twists and turns and trials and tribulations; but our land will yields its harvest. Some people want to stop the progress that we have made on our land, but I have a message for them: “Our land will yield its harvest.” No matter what obstacles might arise, “Our land will yield its harvest.”
You have destined for us a land of milk and honey, the Promised Land, a land of goodness and without lack. We are reminded that we are your servants on your land, because without you we would have nothing. Lord, I humbly ask that you constantly give us the tools that we need to better do your work. I ask that you search our hearts, and show us ways that each of us can use our gifts to make your land a better place -- for everyone. Amen.
Special Prayer Requests:
- A prayer for all those who feel depression or despair during this Advent Season that they may find some hope in the songs, words, and actions of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The family and friends of Rev. Betsy Bloomfield, retired pastor and long-time active member of the CT Conference, who died Nov. 13;
- the friends and family of Rev. Hugh Penny, paster Emeritus at South Church in New Britain, who died on Nov. 12;
- those grieving or suffering in the community around Rancho Tehama Reserve, in Northern California after a shooting on Nov. 14 left 6 dead and 8 wounded;
- those grieving or suffering after an earthquake struck along the border of Iran and Iraq, killing over 300 and injuring thousands on Nov. 12;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a church in Texas where at least 26 were killed and at least 19 more were wounded on Nov. 5;
- the people of Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria caused massive devastation on Sept. 20;
- the millions of people currently worried about losing health insurance as the White House and Congress consider and enact changes to the current health care system;
- the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
- Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
- the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
- the people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
- the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
- 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;
- 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 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; and
- those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational, UCC
Raymond Kostulias - P
The First Congregational Church of Ansonia, UCC
Nancy W. Svalberg - SP
Avon Congregational Church
Donna Kathryn Manocchio - IN
West Avon Congregational UCC
Brian C. Hardee - P
Berlin Congregational Church
Pamela Rose Vollinger - DT
TJ Harper is Associate for Racial Justice for the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ.
December 04, 2017