Rev. Max Grant is the senior pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Greenwich.
Scripture: Luke 4:12 (NRSV)
Jesus answered him, "It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
In my first year in college, I lived down the hall from a guy named Matt.
I never particularly got to know him — we were studying different things and ran in different circles.
But I’ve never forgotten Matt.
Because the thing about him was that he had no patience for pleasantries. If you ran into him in the hallway or the dining hall or walking back from class and exchanged a greeting, he’d ask you how you were doing, seemingly as an empty matter of form.
“How’s it going?” he’d say.
“Great,” you’d respond, not even slowing your gait as you walked by.
But then he would come to an abrupt halt, turn right toward you, look you earnestly in the eye, and ask, “Really?”
It was a move I found initially befuddling, subsequently audacious, and finally infuriating, lifting up the mirror as it did to my own tendency to fly on auto-pilot, but unfortunately, for no particular reason other than the joy of watching my discomfort.
Matt enjoyed putting people to the test that way.
In its own way, Lent invites our reflection on the many ways we continue to fly through life on auto-pilot, scarcely aware of how our values, our relationships, and our souls are being formed and deformed by where we decide to place our attention.
Befuddlingly, audaciously, infuriatingly…and gracefully, it asks us how we’re really doing.
Lent tests us openly over the many ways in which we test God’s own patience with our lives and what they stand for.
It has no room for pleasantries. That’s what gives it the power and purpose to work its transformation in our lives.
Holy One, in these weeks you challenge us to feel the truth about our own lives — their messiness, their brokenness, their imperfection, and their capacity for blithe inattention. Show us who we really are, and what we really do. Then teach us how to become people who walk surely in the ways of humility, justice and peace. 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 the family and friends of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Nathaniel Slie, former Associate Pastor at the Church of Christ at Yale and Pastor Emeritus at Shalom United Church of Christ, who died on Feb. 12
- For the family and friends of the Rev. Marjorie Hall Davis, former interim pastor in CT, who died on Feb. 24
- For those affected by a tornado and violent storms in southeastern U.S. which left over 20 dead and thousands of homes destroyed
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the joy that winter brings to those who love snow, and the beauty it creates
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Newent Congregational UCC
Milton Congregational UCC
The First Congregational Church of Litchfield, UCC
First Congregational Church of Lyme UCC
Grassy Hill Congregational
This Week in History:
Mar. 4, 1789, (230 year ago) The first session of the U.S. Congress is held in New York City, marking the effective beginning of the U.S. Constitution. Of the 22 senators and 59 representatives called to represent the 11 states that had ratified the document, only 9 senators and 13 representatives showed up to begin discussion of the document's amendment. Totady, Congress is made up of 435 representatives, 100 senators, and 6 non-voting representatives from Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
Senior Minister of the Second Congregational Church UCC in Greenwich, Connecticut