Rev. Kate VanDerzee-Glidden is Pastor of First Church of Christ Congregational, in Glastonbury, CT.
Scripture: Selections from Philippians 4 (The Message)
4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Reflection: Ready, Set, Go, Big Jump!
There’s nothing like the focus of a toddler. Since my twin boys Lucas and Andrew have been little, once they are into something, it’s hard to get them away from it.
The summer when they were two, they were really into jumping, and they had a game they played with us. They liked to climb on me and my husband and other things too like the couch and their slide outside. Then in enthusiastic and loud voices, they said, “Ready, set, go, big jump!” And jump off of us or the objects. No matter what I did to encourage them not to do a big jump, they ignored me and jumped anyway!
Since they have been little, I’ve admired their persistence and ability to live in the moment. Sometimes I let fear stop me. Or I think too much. There is no thinking too much or maybe even fear for Andrew and Lucas. Throughout their seven years of life, they have always been very determined and focused.
Focusing on good things can be a challenge. In the Scripture passage from Philippians, the Apostle Paul reminds the people of his time to fill up their minds and meditate “on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Let go of fear; focus instead on beauty and faith.
Lucas especially had an interesting way of doing ready, set, go, big jump. Before he said those words, he reached out for my hand. I don’t know why he did that – maybe because he was a little more cautious, maybe because he was afraid and needed reassurance.
Don’t we all want to reach out sometimes for a hand to help us work through our fear so we can see the beauty around us?
Like little Lucas, I often look for an outstretched hand or a word of advice from a loved one encouraging me on, holding me tightly, reminding me that I am okay. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of my fear and worry, and focus instead on beauty and faith.
We all have things that hold us back – fear, disappointment, forgiveness, anxiety. But we also have a lot to encourage us to live fully and explore, laugh and jump – our communities of faith, hands of friends and family, music and God’s amazing love. Ready, set, go, big jump into life – letting go of fear and embracing the beauty that surrounds us!
God of new life, sometimes the days seem to drag on, and all we see and feel is the sadness of the world and our lives. As we journey through life, help us to let go of our fear and to open our eyes and hearts to all the blessings that surround us. May our gratitude to you, God, be constant and deep. 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 for next week, please contact Tiffany Vail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For those grieving for the more than 208,800 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For the Rev. Don Francois, Bridge Interim Minister of Columbia (CT) Congregational Church UCC, who is recovering from a heart attack
- For the family and friends of The Rev. Mr. Alastair Sellars, who served as Senior Minister at Newtown Congregational Church from 1964 to 1987. Rev. Sellars died July 19, 2020. A reflection about him is posted here
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For all those working to register voters, and working to make sure everyone is able to cast their vote safely, be it in person or by mail.
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:Enfield Congregational Church, UCC, Enfield, CT
Ellington Congregational Church, Ellington, CT
Congregational Church of Easton, Inc., Easton, CT
Easthampton Congregational Church, UCC, Easthampton, MA
East Woodstock Congregational Church, East Woodstock, CT
First Congregational Church of East Windsor, East Windsor, CT
East Weymouth Congregational Church, East Weymouth, MA
Union Congregational Church, UCC, East Walpole, MA
Hope Congregational UCC, East Providence, RI
The Federated Church of Orleans, East Orleans, MA
First Congregational Church UCC, East Longmeadow, MA
First Congregational Church of East Haven, Inc., East Haven, CT
This Week in History:
Date Oct. 5, 1877 (143 years ago) Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce peoples surrenders to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana, declaring, “Hear me, my chiefs: My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
Earlier in the year, the U.S. government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce, forcing them out of their homeland. For more than three months, Chief Joseph led fewer than 300 of his people toward the Canadian border, covering more than 1,000 miles as the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled more than 2,000 pursuing U.S. soldiers. During the long retreat, he treated prisoners humanely and won the admiration of whites by purchasing supplies along the way rather than stealing them. Finally, only 40 miles short of his Canadian goal, Chief Joseph was cornered by the U.S. Army, and his people were forcibly relocated to a barren reservation in Indian Territory. Source: history.com.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”