This week's author is Emily McKenna, Office Manager for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Scripture: Psalm 90:13-17 (NRSV)Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
Reflection:Hope has dwindled down in the hearts of the faithful ones I know. While their hands and hearts tirelessly work for justice and peace during days when those two things seem like mere concepts, like clouds in the sky that we try to catch with butterfly nets, the hopeful energies have become scarce and many folks are simply operating on routine.
How do we know what to hope for when each day there’s a new challenge, another storm, and more confirmation from the world that we’re not always safe? Where are we to point our focus when there’s simply too much unfairness, not enough help, and constant reminders that we can’t control the things we wish we could? Where are we to draw this hope from, does it exist? Is hope hanging out in the sky with the clouds of justice and peace? Can we catch it?
While fears and routines have fueled us to get through tough days, we can’t forget about hope. We must be intentional in recognizing and savoring the moments in our lives that are loving, colorful, or filled with grace. For as many days as we have seen trouble, the Lord will provide us with happiness too. I invite you to pause the next time a smile creeps across your face, the next time you chuckle or receive a warm hug from a friend, and immerse yourself in the moment. Then write it down on a little piece of paper, and put in a box or drawer or jar. Keep actively noticing and recording the blessings in each day, and hold onto them. For hope can be found in those happy moments, and we can revisit them when we feel like hope has been lost. Make yourself a ‘hope bank’ if you will, and start saving.
Remember that the work of your hands will indeed last, and that if you are operating from routine or fear, that it’s up to you to save up your hope. God has given us beautiful moments in each day and we must open our eyes to see and feel them. Let the collection of your happy moments remind you of God’s glory and provide you with comfort when swinging that butterfly net makes your body tired.
Thank you for the blissful and sweet things in each of our days, and help us to see them even when we’re tired and fearful. Show us more hope. Be with us as we balance it all, and make our hands swift and our hearts open so that we might bring your will of a just and peaceful world to life.
Special Prayer Requests:
- The people of Somalia after a car bomb in Mogadishu killed over 350 people on October 14;and
- prayers of joy for the blessing of Autumn colors.
- The people of California where wildfires have led to at least 40 deaths and burned more than 100,000 acres;
- the millions of people currently worried about losing health insurance as the White House and Congress consider and enact changes to the current health care system;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, which left more than 50 dead and over 400 wounded on Oct. 2'
- the people of Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria caused massive devastation on Sept. 20;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a church in Nashville, which left 1 student dead and 7 wounded on Sept. 24.
- those grieving for the 24 children and teachers killed in a fire in Malaysia on Sept. 14;
- those grieving or suffering after a shooting at a school in Rockford, Washington, which left 1 student dead and 3 wounded on Sept. 13;
- those suffering in London after a crude bomb detonated in the subway on Sept. 15;
- those grieving or suffering in the Caribbean and Florida after the effects of Hurricane Irma, which caused massive destruction of property last week and over the week end (September);
- the people of Mexico, where an 8.2 magnitude earthquake killed over 90 people and leveled many parts of Mexico on Sept. 7;
- the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
- Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
- the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
- the people of South Sudan where nearly 1 million people are facing famine;
- the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
- Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
- Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
- Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
- the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
- our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
- the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
- the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
- this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism; and
- those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
First Congregational Church of Waterbury, UCC
Kenneth A. Frazier Jr - P
Mill Plain Union Church
Paul Fontanez - P
South Congregational Church, UCC
Shea Zellweger - P
Waterford Congregational UCC
Matthew J. McCaffrey - P
First Congregational Church of Watertown, UCC
Cynthia J. Carr – P
James Robertson – AP
Nancy Harrell – CE
Richard Silbereis – MM
William J. Zito - PE
Emily is the Program Support Associate for the Discipleship and Justice & Witness Teams of the Southern New England Conference. Emily grew up in the Naugatuck Congregational Church UCC and at Silver Lake Conference Center, where she has served as ...