Rev. Johanna Hattendorf is a UCC pastor, and Licensed Massage therapist, who now has a unique ministry of healing for survivors of trauma and abuse, using hands-on bodywork and teaching Tai Chi and QiGong.
Scripture: Mark 12:28-34 (NRSV)
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’ Then the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other”; and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength”, and “to love one’s neighbour as oneself”,—this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared to ask him any question.
Reflection: God Is One
One of the many hats I wear, is Tai Chi and QiGong instructor. One of the classic symbols in Tai Chi is the Yin/Yang of a circle divided by two “apostrophes”—one white, one black. Each half also has a bit of the other in it. The white half has a black dot, and the black half has a white dot to remind us that nothing is just one thing or another. In fact, everything is united in the oneness of all.
When I read these familiar Words of scripture, I am reminded of this ancient concept of Oneness: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” God isn’t just one God. God IS ONE. God is Oneness. Oneness that unites all divides. Oneness that encompasses everyone, everything, and all of the universe, galaxies, planets, creation. All of it is THE One. All of it— “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
In our world and our society, the pandemic has brought to the surface the many ways that we are divided and polarized. By politics, by vaccination status, by gender or sexual orientation, or race, or. . . .It’s hard to resist the pull of the divide when we confront it in every moment of every day. It’s hard to remember that not only are there polarities—there is also Oneness.
And yet, that is exactly what we are called to do.
When we remember that God Is One, what we discover is Love. Not valentine’s day love, but a love that IS ONE. Like in the Yin/Yang there comes a sudden stab of realization that there is darkness in the light, and light in the darkness. That what I point at in you, is also in me. The Love that is One allows us to recognize that even though we are separated, we are united in the ONE. And we are called, compelled to Love. With a love that is emotion (heart), and thought (mind), and justice/action (strength), and into the depth of our very being (soul). Not just for others, but for ourselves. To love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
This is what we strive for—to see the unity in all the polarity—to know God as One. To know that in the ONEness, we can and must love.
In lieu of a prayer, I’m including a poem I wrote about the unity of love.
A Song of Earth and Stars
Johanna Hattendorf, June 21, 2021
Underneath it all,
The deep thrumming of the bass,
The pulse of the Universe
The heartbeat of the Cosmos,
driving me forward.
Do you feel the depth--
The ground beneath your feet?
Listen, it’s there.
Not just under your feet,
In your heart.
And then the Stars join in,
The heavens singing their eternal refrain,
Over and over and over.
The love to wrap us up in ourselves
To take us on this crazy ride
to meet, and greet,
Stars and Earth United
Joined for this song:
Gather the pieces,
The broken pieces
Pick up the stardust
Gather it in your arms
And know that You,
We are the beat
the pulsing earth,
The singing soaring stars
Are on this crazy train--
This life of being and doing and seeing and knowing
And we somehow are each a star
And All the earth.
And the beat, beat, beating
Keeps moving us forward
Just as we are.
(To see and hear Rev. Hattendorf reading this poem, check out this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/xHA5bjYNxzo)
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 victims and their families of the 581 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
- For the families and friends of more than 733,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease
- For the family and friends of Rev. David Cain, a UCC pastor who served in MA and CT. Rev. Cain died on Oct. 20
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For leaves, both painting the trees and falling in the breeze
This Week in History:
October 26, 2001 (20 years ago) President George W, Bush signs the Patriot Act, and anti-terrorism law created in response to the 9/11 attacks in September of that year. The law has since been debated as both giving the executive branch too much power to investigate Americans and not going far enough to protect Americans. A renewal of the act was signed in 2006, but more controversy was added when President Bush issued a signing statement, essentially an exemption from enforcing certain clauses in the law.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”