Into the Heartbeat

Into the Heartbeat

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Rev. Lindsey Peterson is the Designated Term Minister of South Church UCC in Springfield, MA. She is also one of the rotational pastors at Church Without Walls in Springfield.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:6-19  (NRSV)

“…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith…As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty…so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.”

 

Reflection: Into the heartbeat

 

Oftentimes in parish ministry, the heartbeat feels very far away. Oftentimes, the business of the operation of church feels like it has become the point, rather than a thing we do to move us toward the point.

I’ve been thinking of, and feeling, Christ in this way lately: as the compassionate heartbeat of creation. Christ as a name for the compassionate heartbeat of creation.

To say we are in Christ, is then to say we are in the compassionate heartbeat of creation. We are near it, inside it, in touch with it, connected and moving with its pulse. That compels me and clarifies me. Am I inside this compassionate heartbeat of creation; in touch with it, moving with its pulse? Is church?

1 Timothy is a warning about what keeps us far from this compassionate heartbeat of creation, or as the author describes it, from “the life that really is life.” The love of money. Being people identified with our wealth with a mindset of supremacy is the central barrier.

To be able to take hold of the life which really is life, the author advises that the rich people have to let go their ideological and practical hold on the supremacy of their wealth. They have to give it away. They have to release their hold on their life of supremacy to take hold of the life which is really life.

Our SNEUCC churches are wealthy. Some of our churches have actual money in the bank; more have generations of European-settler privilege in our physical assets and our congregational habits. To get to the point -- real life, living inside the compassionate heartbeat of creation -- we have to give that supremacy away. The money, the assets, and the habits of supremacy in our reverence for particular old ways, as if we possess the right way.

The compassionate heartbeat of creation calls; we do not possess it, but we can belong to it. And in so belonging, we can be moved and live the life which really is life here and now today.

I offer American jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actress Abby Lincoln’s beautiful wisdom as a guiding refrain:

Throw it away, throw it away; give your love, live your life, each and every day.

And keep your hand wide open, let the sun shine through;

’cause you can never lose a thing, if it belongs to you.

PRAYER

O God, help us release our hold on habits of supremacy; help us desire more deeply life in Christ.

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:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~31,500 gun violence deaths in the US this year.
  • For the friends and family of The Rev. Edward R. Mayes who died September 4, 2022. Mayes served Flagg Road United Church of Christ in West Hartford, CT  for 30 years before retiring and then had interim positions in various Connecticut churches.
  • For those who mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth 2 -- a mother and grandmother
    as well as a friend and monarch

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For those who share their blessings
  • For the artists who offer inspiration with their crafts

 This Week in History:

September 22, 1862 (160 years ago): President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery. [History

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

lindsey-peterson.headshot1.jpg
Lindsey Peterson

Lindsey Peterson is a General Synod delegate and is the Designated Term Pastor at the South Congregational Church in Springfield, MA.

September 19, 2022
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