Rev. Kurt A. Walker is serving God alongside God’s people at Chapel Street Congregational Church in Lincoln, RI.
Scripture: Psalm 111:1-10 (MSG - edited)
This God of Grace, this God of Love.
God gave food to those who fear God,
God remembered to keep God’s ancient promise.
God proved to his people that God could do what God said:
Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift!
God manufactures truth and justice;
All God's products are guaranteed to last—
Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that God makes and does is honest and true:
God paid the ransom for God’s people,
God ordered God’s Covenant kept forever.
This time last year, I was riffing on how 2020, as the number suggests, would be a year in which our vision for the Church might be made more perfect. I dreamt of a year of renewed imaginings for myself and the church I serve. In the epiphanic days of January, I preached on how we, the Church, God’s people, may well partner with God to bring about a revitalized sense of clarity and vision of who we are as God’s people, what God is calling us to be as the Church, and how God calls us to be the Church.
Throughout this past year, many, if not most, people have experienced a tremendous amount of change in our lives: individually, communally, personally and professionally. Thanks to this 100-year pan-damn-ic, we the Church have been called upon to grapple daily with tremendously tumultuous shifts of theology. Our beliefs concerning the three eternal questions of the church (of who, what, and how) we are called by God, have been thrown into disarray by a viral force of nature beyond our control. Even the strongest pillars of our faith and society have not been exempt; having been shaken and stirred to their knees. The seemingly lightning-quick twists and turns we have been coerced to face have called us to question everything about our understandings of what is vitally important to each of us. We’ve each had to ponder that which is absolutely core to who we are, and what absolutely must be retained if we are to remain true to our authentic selves. We have had to reflect deeply upon those things of this life that, if we are to maintain a glimmer of our true self, must be let go of and jettisoned: personal and professional relationships, justice, equality, peace, a more advocative and sincerely active pursuit to genuinely understand the underpinnings of this nation’s original sin of slavery and racism, and how we might strive to be a more-perfect union. Each of us have been called to tackle the increasingly divisive political climate that has been escalating in our country over the past decade, which has in turn increasingly caused us to sometimes forget our who we are as equally-precious children of God.
The psalmist reminds us that our God is a God of grace and Love. Our God is a God who nourishes all of Creation and remembers the promises made to us. Our God is a God who makes the “never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof” products of truth and justice a priority – and that God proclaims that sacred promise, this covenant, be kept forever.
We enter a new calendar year, 2020+1, a year in which we will continue to be asked to sharpen our focus and confront head-on the real and enduring changes that must take place within ourselves, the Church, and society. If we are to succeed in our pursuit to truly become a more perfect vision of who we are, let us remember that which never changes, never wavers, and never ceases – God’s promise to abide with, and partner with us to bring about a renewed sense of clarity and vision. Now and forever.
God of constancy amidst the changes. Unwavering God of Love amidst the vacillations of our hearts. God of unceasing grace and mercy amidst the jarring and unevenly paced demands of this world. Help us to remember who and whose we are and what we are capable of doing with and for you. ~ 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 those grieving for the more than 416,000 dead due to the Covid-19 disease
- For those grieving or suffering due to mass shootings. Mass shootings* increased from 417 in 2019 to 612 in 2020. [*Gunviolencearchive.org defines mass shootings as 4 or more injured or killed not including the shooter]
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the peace and reason that dominated the Jan. 20th Inauguration
- For the pastors and church leaders in the Southern New England Conference who have discovered new ways to impact their communities
This Week in History:
January 28, 1986 (35 years ago) The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after take off killing all seven astronauts aboard. The launch was shown live in CNN and the disaster was witnessed by thousands, including many students who were watching to see the first teacher go to space. Astronaut Christa MacAuliffe of New Hampshire was the first and last of a new Teacher in Space project designed to spur interest in math, science and space exploration. After MacAuliffe's death, the program was canceled, but her mission backup, fellow educator Barbara Morgan, would eventually go to space under a new program in 2007.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Kurt A. Walker
The Rev. Kurt Walker is Pastor of Chapel Street Congregational Church, UCC, in Lincoln, RI.