Rev. Frank Basler is a mystic, a tele-coach, therapist, and facilitator of an ecumenical community of practice for senior ministers.
Scripture: Psalm 68:1-10,32-35 (NRSV)
Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the Lord—
be exultant before him.
Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord,
O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
Reflection: God Is Giving Power To The People
Recall how you felt when you read today’s headlines. Then read the Psalm again – slowly, perhaps aloud.
In the midst of this plague and horrendous economic crisis, can you and I “be jubilant with joy?” Can we affirm that our awesome God is giving power and strength to God’s people?
For me, it depends on how I envision God. One way is to imagine that God is outside God’s people, as the Psalmist does with language like, “…you went out before your people.” Another way is to imagine God as in God’s people.
God is Real and cannot be outside our present suffering Reality. The power and strength the Psalmist says that God gives God’s people is in us, just itching to come out.
I’ve been making notes on some of the ways the Reality of God is being revealed awesomely in God’s people:
- An ongoing New York Times project proposing ideas for how the U.S. can emerge from the crisis a fairer society
- An article cautioning young people to be careful not to spread the virus as they try to help elderly neighbors
- Restaurant workers preparing meals for other restaurant workers who have been laid off
- Landlords waiving rent
- A liquor store owner raising $12,000 and giving $2000 gifts to struggling small businesses in his neighborhood.
I’m sure you can think of other remarkable examples. Each may seem like a drop in the ocean, and together they are a mighty wave.
Yes! “Ascribe power to God…. …[God] gives power and strength to [God’s] people!”
Holy One, in the words of Paul we give you thanks in all circumstances. Help us trust that the power and strength you are giving your people will result in a new social order when this crisis is over -- new social norms and policies that will help us prepare for the climate crisis. Strengthen our resurrection faith that your Kingdom will come on earth in and through these catastrophes.
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 nearly 90,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For those suffering after an explosion at a hash oil facility in Los Angeles left 11 firefighters injured
- For safe conduct among the many people who will see some restrictions lifted this week from the Covid-19 lock-downs
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the Rev. Alice O'Donovan, who has begun that process of routine follow-up visits for post treatment cancer patients. The first such round of test were excellent.
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:
Park Place Congregational UCC, Pawtucket, RI
Smithfield Avenue Congregational UCC, Pawtucket, RI
United Congregational Church of Westerly UCC, Pawcatuck, CT
Second Congregational Church UCC, Palmer, MA
First Congregational Church UCC, Oxford, MA
Oxford United Church of Christ Congregational, Oxford, CT
Central Congregational Church, UCC, Orange, MA
Orange Congregational Church, Orange, CT
The Community Church of North Orange and Tully, Orange, MA
First Church of Christ in Saybrook (Congregational), Old Saybrook, CT
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Old Lyme, CT
This Week in History:
May 18, 1980 (40 years ago) Mount St. Helens in Washington erupts, killing 57 people and damaging 210 square miles of wilderness. The eruption causes a giant landslide or rock and ice that was followed by mudflows and floods. A 12-mile high column of ash and gas blasted from the new crater, carrying particles that drifted around the planet for several weeks. The mountain lost 1,700 feet in elevation that day. It's estimated that the loss of animal life was in the millions.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Rev. Frank Basler is an ordained minister in the CT Conference, UCC. He is a “dialogue partner” with clergy and facilitates two communities of practice for senior ministers.