Belovedness Over Coffee

Belovedness Over Coffee

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Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager is the Senior Associate Minister at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme in Old Lyme, CT.

Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17 (NRSV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw God’s Spirit descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from the heavens said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Reflection: Belovedness Over Coffee

 

On a recent Saturday, our church youth group and friends drove a couple of hours to the west side of Manhattan to serve a pop-up breakfast to folks unhoused and living on the street. We do this every fall with an organization called The Midnight Run.  There’s something about waking at the crack of dawn and driving to another city to set up tables with sandwiches, donuts, and clementines on a cold street corner for whomever shows up that reminds you of what the gospel is really about. 

There’s something of the messy manger in the privilege of offering someone a warm sweater and extra pair of gloves while you get to return home in a cozy car filled with gas. There’s something in the eye contact and conversations between “us” and “them” that spontaneously pops up over a second cup of hot coffee that brings the belovedness of each person to life. Epiphanies glimmer in the grittiness of the morning’s sunlight, no matter what side of the plastic card tables we’re standing on. 
 
It's not lost on me that this is a River Jordan moment along the freezing waters off the Hudson with those of us with eyes to see beyond the glare. Here, as we pass the donut holes again, we’re given a chance to see into the heart of one another and a God who comes to walk the walk with us.
 
In later reflections, the teenagers write letters to one person they met on that day and grapple with how we can help end housing insecurity for homeless families in our lifetimes. We talked about why some people have more than enough and others barely have a pillow on which to lay their heads. On the day we served breakfast, city data showed that 64,222 adults and children were in the shelter system. And, nearly half of that number included children.  Those mind blowing numbers of those seeking shelter are just for ONE day. Putting faces and names to numbers is one way to crack open our hearts and dissolve the arbitrary walls that separate us.
 
Instructed the 16th century mystic, Teresa of Avila, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” 


PRAYER

God of Epiphanies,

May we remember to take care of one another’s bodies and spirits as well as our own as we continue to serve and learn from our neighbors near and far.  May we live out our baptismal calls by the light of the moon and the shade of the day on whatever street corners we may find ourselves. May we embody belovedness as we go. 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 Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at cochranem@sneucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For those building Congregational legacies.
  • For those who set up tables with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks on a street corner for whomever shows up, and for those who make the sandwiches and supply the food.

 This Week in History:

January 4, 1965 (58 years ago): In his State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson lays out for Congress a laundry list of legislation needed to achieve his plan for a Great Society. Following Johnson’s lead, Congress enacted sweeping legislation in the areas of civil rights, health care, education and the environment.  [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

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Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager

The Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager is the Associate Pastor at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

January 02, 2023
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