Rev. Heather A. Lucas is an ordained UCC minister who serves as a hospital chaplain in Cambridge, MA.
Scripture: Psalm 4 (NRSV)
To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
How long, you people, shall my honour suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, ‘O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!’
You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Reflection: Allow God to Step In
Growing up as a kid, my grandmother used to say “Mother Nature will teach us so much”. Her words have stayed with me for years even after she passed away. I remember her gardens with abundant fresh vegetables, bright yellow sunflowers that stretched up to the sky. As years go by, reflecting on Nature- seeing a bird’s nest in a tree, I’ve thought of this as creation holding creation. With a little imagination, I think of a tree’s large or winding branches, as long arms reaching out- holding that nest. Other times, Nature expresses herself in the roaring thunder, rippling wind, buckets of rain. Then the next day, that quiet after the storm with cleansed air, the ground soaking up fresh water. So too, with human nature- the moments of being embraced, love’s beauty and also the rough times. After a good cry, tears that fall on a dry spirit. The cry, the pain released that gives more “breathing room” and space within.
I love the way the biblical psalms speak to our human nature. Psalms range from complaints, laments, those times of crying out to God, to praise, trust and thanksgiving. In Psalm 4, verse 1 I hear the words “Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress” as an invitation to boldly share an honest sense -that distress- of what’s going on. Bring those unanswered prayers to the forefront, the questions, the longing.
In my faith path, the spiritual practice of sitting in silence, then journaling helps “make room” for me to hear some of those longings, ask the questions. Listening, waiting and writing what God wants me to hear. With pen and paper before me, let the Spirit guide the writing, my heart open to listening.
God will speak to us and guide us. Sometimes this can take a while or the gift of a deeper breath, a relaxed state- arrives when I stop resisting a struggle. What helps? Letting the sometimes anxious thoughts settle down or simply be there. Also, trusting the Holy Spirit can call forth what is deep in our soul. As we still our mind, we gain more fidelity to the truth of who we are. We are worthy, “ok” to not be ok at times, filled with the Spirit, loved.
What sustains you? If a spiritual practice isn’t working, what new way can you connect to God? I suggest be open minded as sometimes this is not what’s expected.
When we rush in trying to fix a situation or do more than our part, may we listen for when to step aside. Then allow God to step in.
Holy and Loving God, thank you for your goodness and grace that often
arrives in unexpected ways. When we experience obstacles, the stubbed toe kind of
pain or the deeper struggle in life, open our minds and hearts to your love. When it’s
tough to see our way forward, bless us with enough strength to lift our gaze, to see the
possibility of beginning again.
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 those grieving for the more than 125,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a Walmart distribution center left 2 dead and 4 wounded
- For those grieving or suffering in Bangladesh after a ferry capsized, killing 23
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For those who practice safe distancing, wear face coverings, and adhere to other precautions in order to protect their neighbors
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:
First Congregational Church, UCC, Montague, MA
First Church of Monson, UCC, Monson, MA
Monroe Congregational Church, Inc., Monroe, CT
East Congregational Church, UCC, Milton, MA
First Congregational Church, UCC, Milton, MA
Church of Christ Congregational, UCC, Millis, MA
First Congregational Church, UCC, Millbury, MA
Millbury Federated Church, Millbury, MA
First Congregational Church of Milford, UCC, Milford, MA
The First United Church of Christ Congregational, Milford, CT
The United Church of Christ in Devon, Milford, CT
This Week in History:
July 4, 1960 (60 years ago) A 50th star is added to the United States flag to represent Hawaii, the newest state. The flag has been unaltered since, but may again be changed in the future as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. raise debates of acquiring statehood.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”