The Rev. Kate VanDerzee-Glidden is a pastor of the First Church of Christ in Glastonbury.
Scripture: Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV and The Message - author "mash up")
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn produces hope. Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Reflection: Never Give Up!
An active member of our congregation, Nancy, recently wrote a blog post that continues to inspire me.
A few years Nancy saw a license plate in the parking lot at the local grocery store. She snapped a picture, because she was having one of “those days.” You know, the ones where you ask yourelf, “Why am I even trying to do this? I should probably quit. This is never going to work out.” She was desperate enough that day to be taking life advice from a license plate - “Never Give Up!”
Nancy laughed at herself while she took the picture, but it helped. She kept going.
Then, just a few months ago, Nancy was trying to make her way out of the tiny post office parking lot and in pulled NVRGUP! She rolled down her window and waved to the driver as she got out. “Hi, Never Give Up! I love your license plate!”
After the driver parked, she came over to Nancy’s window to say hello. Nancy shared how she’d seen the message years ago and how much it meant to her.
The woman thanked Nancy for noticing the words and explained how this had been her late husband’s license plate choice. “That was him, all the way,” the widower said to Nancy. “He never gave up on other people. He always thought everyone had good in them, and it was his job to find it and help bring it out.”
Nancy admitted to the woman that she hadn’t considered that the message being sent was ‘don’t give up on other people.’ The widower explained, “It used to really frustrate me sometimes. He always gave people more chances than I would have.” (Then she assured Nancy that he would be okay with her taking it as a sign to not give up on herself, either!)
Every time it came to renew the plate, the woman wondered if she should keep it or just go back to the randomly assigned number. Nancy told her to never give it up, and she smirked, but the smile faded quickly. “I hope I didn’t make your day sad by telling you my husband died,” she said to Nancy.
Nancy then responded, “I’m really sorry he’s gone, because it sounds like he was an awesome person. But don’t you think it’s kind of cool that, in a way, he’s still encouraging people?”
Nancy and the woman hugged through the car window, and then off the lady went into the post office. And off Nancy went to ponder the idea of never giving up on other people.
Throughout our lives, we face trials and tribulations, and we need reminders that we are not alone and that God never gives up on us even when we let God down and when we forget to see the blessings that surround us.
Inspired by God, may we all keep going when life is challenging knowing we are called to love and encourage all those whom we encounter.
God of new life, sometimes the days seem to drag on, and all we see and feel is the sadness of the world and our lives. As we journey through life, help us to open our eyes and hearts to all the blessings that surround us. May our gratitude to you, God, be constant and deep. 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 email@example.com.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the people of Mali where feuding ethnic groups led to an attack in which nearly 100 villagers were killed this week
- For those affected by wildfires in California and Arizona
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For those who affirm, support, and advocate for the LGBTQ community
- For the safe and joyous transition of thousands of high school seniors as they graduate in the coming (or past) weeks
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Rocky Hill Congregational Church, UCC
United Church of Rowayton
Roxbury Congregational UCC
Congregational Church of Salisbury UCC
Scotland Congregational Church, UCC
This Week in History:
June 12, 2016 (3 years ago) A gunman opened fire on a crowd at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring dozens more. The club was a favorite for predominantly gay patrons, and it is suspected that the shooting was motivated by hate. The shooter was killed at the scene by police. The shooting sparked local and nationwide responses, many calling for more laws and protections for the LGBTQ community. The CT Conference sent a response team to offer support.