The Rev. Lindsey Peterson is the Designated Term Minister for South Congregational Church, UCC, in Springfield, MA.
Scripture: Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Reflection: My Teacher, Let Me See Again
As a lifelong New Englander, I am indeed a lover of fall. The weather changing awakens my senses; my brain seems to function better, I have more energy with the increasing coolness. And I do love wearing my favorite everyday fall boots (we’re not talking winter boots yet)!
Seasons incarnate change. When we live in a place like New England with such pronounced seasons - when we pay attention - we learn that change is part of the ordinary deal and cycle of life.
The other day in the early afternoon, I went out into the parking lot of the church I serve. Four South Church folk were gathered in the corner of the building in a small communion service. A much larger circle of chairs was set up closer to Temple Street in the back parking lot; Pioneer Valley Project (PVP) which has its offices at South, was gathered with their state-wide partners from their umbrella organization - Massachusetts Communities Action Network - for a big meeting.
As a Deacon at South Church was offering the words of communion the bread heaven, for you; the cup of salvation, from across the parking lot, Lizzo’s song Good as Hell started playing. PVPs cohort was filming something and Lizzo was the soundtrack. Try not dancing when that song is playing! Lizzo’s Good as Hell incarnates good feelings and movement.
“For the bread of God…gives life to the world” - John 6:33. The bread of God, the nourishment of God, gives life. It incarnates being itself. Vibrancy, aliveness, action in spite of all that pushes us into the inaction of fear; God incarnates movement, the energy of possibility, the joy of being alive.
I know that life is not always joyful; and God is not absent in those dulled spaces. Sometimes, life is in the rest, and the fallowness. At the same time, the bread of God gives life to the world. In the midst of this long and ongoing season of Covid, many of us are in depressed spaces. Many of our organizations are as well. We have lost sight of the vibrancy of the bread of life, and how it changes places and moves with seasons. Where is it incarnate now?
As the leaves fall, I ask myself what I need to let go to let God’s life force work through me in new ways, changed as I am. As the weather cools, I listen to where the energy of movements, of people in action for just and loving change are, and I release some of my own fears to join in their work however I can; to be warmed by participation.
As church, may we see the bread of life, the cup of salvation being broken and poured out in places we might not think to look and join in the celebration of life there.
“Dance then, wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he, and I’ll lead you all wherever you may be, and I’ll lead you all in the dance said he.”
~ “Lord if the Dance” lyrics by Syndey Carter
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 email@example.com
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the victims and their families of the 570 mass shootings already carried out in 2021, including 2 shootings at Grambling State University in Louisiana this week
- For the families and friends of more than 722,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease.
- For the 17 U.S. missionaries from Ohio who were abducted in Haiti last week and are still missing
- For the family and friends of Rev. Arthur Latimer, former pastor at Shalom United Church of Christ, in New Haven, CT. Rev. Latimer died on Oct. 9
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For family and friend support networks who provide comfort and strength to each other in times of trouble
This Week in History:
October 24, 1861 (160 years ago) The first transcontinental telegraph is completed the Western Union Telegraph Company connects the eastern and western telegraph networks at Salt Lake City, Utah, creating the first instantaneous communication method from Washington, D.C. to California. The first message sent across the country was from Stephen Fields, chief justice of California, to President Abraham Lincoln. It was hoped that the telegraph might ensure loyalty to the Union by western states during the Civil War.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Lindsey Peterson is a General Synod delegate and is the Designated Term Pastor at the South Congregational Church in Springfield, MA.