Rev. Zachary Mabe is in his 17th year as Pastor of Terryville Congregational Church (CT).
Scripture: Luke 6:17-26 (NRSV)
Jesus Teaches and Heals
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Blessings and Woes
Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
‘Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
‘But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
‘Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
‘Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
‘Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
If you're anything like me, sometimes you need reminders. I don't mean reminders about to-do lists or other tasks, although those are nice, too. What I mean by reminders is that sometimes we need to be reminded who we are and whose we are.
So many foundational aspects of our faith can be found in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and Jesus' Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6). If you haven't read these (or if it's been a while since you've read them), take a moment - maybe even now?! - to read them.
Did you find any reminders about who you are and/or whose you are? How about some reminders about things perhaps that we take for granted?
"Woe to you who are rich," Jesus says. Ouch. I think so very often we take for granted just how much abundance we have here in New England. What are we doing to work on this? Jesus gives us the reminder we need. On a weekend when so many people are wrapped up in the abundance of riches involved in the Super Bowl, perhaps it's a good time for us to pause and ask ourselves, "Who am I, who is God, and what does God mean in my life? Is everything all about me, or do I think of others? What might I do to live my faith daily?"
Remember, friends: The song "How Great Thou Art" was not written about us, and the three parts of the Holy Trinity are not Me, Myself, and I.
Dear God, remind me that you have created me in your image and that you claim me as your own. Help me to draw closer to you. Realizing that I have an abundance, help me also to realize that life is not all about me. Guide me to be the disciple you want me to be, according to your will. 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 families and friends of more than 898,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease
- For the LGBTQ+ community as schools and universities continue to create rules and policies that discriminate and marginalize this population
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For teachers everywhere
This Month in History:
150 Years Ago
(Contributed by Rev. John VanEpps - SNEUCC Archivist)
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States. This was considered a Southern problem, their “peculiar institution”. But slavery existed in Connecticut for over 200 years, right from early in our beginning. Well into the 1700s many people owned slaves, often as domestic servants or field hands. CT profited greatly from the triangle trade- of molasses, rum, and slaves; and our many textile factories depended on the cotton harvested by slaves in the South. By the start of the Revolutionary War, CT had about 6,000 slaves, the largest number in New England.
Slavery in CT did not begin to decline until the Revolutionary era, with its promise of “liberty and justice for all”- or some, with reservations! After years of rejecting emancipation acts, the CT legislature finally approved a law in 1784 allowing for the gradual emancipation of slaves. Children of slaves were to be freed at the age of 25. With this act, and changing views, slavery declined slowly. In 1790 there were over 2600 slaves in CT. By 1831 there were still 23 slaves in CT, and it wasn’t until after 1840 that the last slave was freed. Slavery was not officially abolished in CT until 1848, just seventeen years before it was abolished in the whole country.
Abolition of slavery did not mean equal rights. In the 1700s blacks were not allowed to own property in many towns. Education of black children was inferior, if it existed at all. We all know the story of Prudence Crandall, who attempted to establish a school to educate black girls in the 1830s, but it was closed by the passage of a state law- the Black Laws. A proposal to establish a college to educate blacks was proposed for New Haven in 1831, but was rejected by its residents by a vote of 700 to 4. The CT legislature voted in 1814 to deny the right to vote to all blacks. Several petitions to grant the right to vote to blacks were rejected by the legislature over the next forty years. This denial of black suffrage was not struck down until the adoption of Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1870.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”