The Rev. Alex Shea Will is the Associate Pastor at South Church in Andover, MA.
Scripture: Exodus 3:13-15 (NRSV)
But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”:
This is my name for ever,
and this my title for all generations.
Reflection: Just Keep Breathing
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
While that is true 365 days a year, it feels a bit more unnerving standing in the threshold before the culmination of a particularly stressful election season.
Maybe you feel this way, too? Maybe you’ve felt it in your body these last few weeks or months - or maybe you feel it right now? Your teeth might be clenched, shoulders tight and pulled up to your ears, or your muscles tense. Or maybe you’ve felt it in your heart or your spirit?
If your shoulders are tense, I invite you to release them. If your heart is heavy, I invite you to acknowledge it. Then take a deep breath in and out.
Seriously. Try it.
When you do, you may be speaking the very name of God.
You see, when God tells Moses “I am who I am,” that’s a bit of artistic interpretation. That phrase is an attempt at translating four Hebrew characters (YHWH) whose true pronunciation is lost to history. But maybe it was always supposed to be.
Someone once told me that God’s name is in fact the sound we utter when we breathe. Try saying those four letters, as if they were a word, letting your breath flow out of you as you do.
Seriously. Try it.
It sounds almost like breathing.
In the midst of worry, uncertainty, exhaustion, and all the other heavy emotions on our hearts in these days, there is a certain freedom in admitting that I don’t know what’s going to happen. A freedom that comes from and rests in the certainty of God’s faithfulness. That as long as we keep breathing, the God whose peace surpasses all understanding will be as near to us as every breath we take. For indeed, this is God’s name for ever, for even our generation.
Will you pray with me?
God of our every breath, we give you thanks. Thanks that no matter how many generations have passed, and how many breaths we have taken, you remain forever on our lips. Ever faithful, and ever loving. Help us breathe you in, and breathe out all that weighs us down, trusting in your faithfulness to see us through. In Jesus’ name, 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 nearly than 230,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For a safe and just Election Day free of violence, intimidation, and hatred
- For those experiencing homelessness as cold weather impacts the region
- For those in the path of Hurricane Eta
- For the people of the Philippines after Typhoon Goni left a rising death toll and thousands in shelters
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For those who organized fun and safe alternative Halloween events for children across our conference
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:
First Congregational Church of Coventry, Coventry, CT
Second Congregational Church of Coventry, Inc., Coventry, CT
Cotuit Federated Church, Cotuit, MA
The UCC in Cornwall, Congregational, Cornwall, CT
United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway, MA
Trinitarian Congregational Church, UCC, Concord, MA
West Concord Union Church, Concord, MA
Columbia Congregational Church, Inc., Columbia, CT
Colchester Federated Church, Colchester, CT
Second Congregational Church, Cohasset, MA
First Church of Christ, Inc., Clinton, CT
This Week in History:
November 6, 1860 (160 years ago) Abraham Lincoln is elected president. Earning only 40 percent of the popular vote, Lincoln became the first Republican president, defeating two democrats (Democrats were divided in two parties: the Northern Democrats and the Southern Democrats) and a Constitutional Union candidate. By his inauguration in March, seven states had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil War began one month later.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”