Opened & Closed

Opened & Closed

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 Rev. John R. White is “Pastor John” of First Congregational Church of Dudley, MA (UCC)


Scripture:  2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT)

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Reflection: Closed & Opened

When the public health emergency with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became a deep reality for us in March 2020, we found ourselves like children, being thrown into new waters, being forced to learn how to swim these waters for our own survival, yet also for the survival of others.  Portions of us closed, others opened.  


While working as a chaplain at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, New Jersey in the early nineties, I remember a Roman Catholic volunteer who visited patients, offering comfort and prayer.  After visiting someone who was sick and seeking to recover from the effects of disease, substance abuse or tragedy of whatever kind, he would often see me, Chaplain John, then make a fist and beat his chest saying  "Mea Culpa" which in Latin means "through my fault."  He said it like a prayer, often looking out as if to God.

Often I thought he was being way too hard on himself.  Yet, over the years, I've thought of this man many times and I've come to think differently.  On the one hand, none of us is responsible for disease, harmful personal decisions of others, or tragedy of whatever kind.  On the other, all of us have some responsibility for everything.

So, there is no blame... only how we think and pray and choose to live in each new now.  

Whether Covid 19, War, Refugees or Climate Change: we live in unprecedented times.  Mea Culpa!

We live in times of incredible hope and only begin to understand all which is possible for us.
Covid 19 does not know age.  Covid 19 does not know skin color.  
Covid 19 does not know religion.  Covid 19 does not know politics or borders.  
Covid 19 closed, suspended or canceled much.  
Yet, here's what we who follow Jesus, are touched by Holy Spirit and know God (Love) can know.

Love knows no age.  Love knows no skin color.  Love knows no religion, politics or borders.  Love only loves.  Love opens all.  

In the words of the song “One” by the group U2: "One love, One blood, One life, You got to do what you should, One life, With each other, Sisters and brothers, One life, But we're not the same, We get to carry each other, carry each other..."
With love for you all,
Pastor John

PRAYER

O, God,
by necessity,
we have learned,
how love can be shown,
even when the doors of our church buildings,
are closed.
 
Yet,
O, God,
in times like these,
the doors of our minds,
the doors of our hearts,
the doors of our waking up to our being one people,
the doors of our waking up to our interconnections,
the doors of our waking up to our interdependence,
the doors of our waking up to our shared responsibilities,
the doors of our waking up to caring for one another and all life,
on this one home we share, the earth...
these doors, thank God,
are opening.
 
Keep them open, God.
Keep them open.
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 paged@sneucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the family and friends of the more than 9600 people who have died due to the Covid-19 virus so far
  • For those in health care who are working with supply shortages and lack of protective equipment
  • For the family and friends of Rev. Katherine Latimer, a retired UCC Minister from Connecticut, who died on March 22.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For health related workers who face this epidemic daily with great personal risk

Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:

Old South Union Church, South Weymouth, MA
The Eliot Church of South Natick, Inc., South Natick, MA
First Congregational Church of South Hadley, South Hadley, MA
Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, South Glastonbury, CT
Congregational Church of South Dennis, UCC, South Dennis, MA
The Congregational Church of South Dartmouth, UCC, South Dartmouth, MA
South Britain Congregational Church, South Britain, CT
First Congregational UCC, Somerville, Somerville, MA
Congregational Church of Somersville, Somersville, CT
Congregational Christian Church of Somerset, UCC, Somerset, MA
Somers Congregational Church, Somers, CT
Slatersville Congregational UCC, Slatersville, RI

This Week in History:
April 11, 1970  (50 years ago) NASA launched the Apollo 13 moon landing mission. This famous mission would fail to reach the moon due to an oxygen tank explosion which occurred two days after launch. The astronauts were forced to return to Earth in the spacecraft's lunar module.

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

pastorjohn25march2017.jpg
John Richard White

The Rev. John White is Pastor at First Congregational Church of Dudley, MA

April 06, 2020
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