Rev. Zachary Mabe is in his 16th year as the Pastor of the Terryville Congregational Church in Terryville, Connecticut.
Scripture: Matthew 18:15-20 (NRSV)
‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’
Reflection: Step One
Are you good at confrontation? Even if we think we are good at confronting people, many of us are not. We might be good "keyboard warriors," quick to leave that Facebook comment or to send that text or email. But how about the face-to-face in-person meeting, something that is perhaps more and more rare in our digital age?
Something I learned early in ministry - not that I'm anywhere near perfecting it (and let's be honest, these devotionals are as much confessional as they are anything else) - is that saying something to someone's face with both honesty and love is one of the most powerful and meaningful things we can do as the Body of Christ.
We live in an increasingly individualistic, everything-done-behind-the-screen world. Jesus wants more from us. Jesus wants us to do better. I know, I know, we're in a pandemic and the in-person meeting isn't always possible. At least, then, pick up the phone and make a call. Talk it over (again, with love and honesty) and work it out. Two thousand-plus years ago, Jesus didn't say, "Send a mass note, or passive aggressively create a triangle and gossip your way through a situation." Put in our vernacular, what Jesus said is: "Step one: go and point out the issue when the two of you are alone. If and only if that doesn't work, then take the next steps."
Church: please don't skip step one. You'll be amazed at the amount of peace (and, very often, resolution) you will experience when you follow the words of our Savior.
Dear God, confrontation is hard. Help me. Help me to take the first step. Help me to speak in love and honesty with the other person, and help me to listen with love and an open heart when the other person is speaking with me. 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 those grieving for the more than 182,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For all those adjusting to children returning to school whether they are "in-person" or online
- For the family and friends of The Rev. Mr. Kenneth W. Steere, retired pastor who served throughout New England. Rev. Steere died on August 15
- The people of Portland, OR, where clashes between protestors and counter-protestors lead to a shooting death this weekend
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the cooler weather that hints at the coming of Autumn
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:
La Nueva Cosecha de Dios, Hartford, CT
Liberty Christian Center International, Hartford, CT
Warburton Community Congregational Church UCC, Hartford, CT
First Congregational Church of Hanover, UCC, Hanover, MA
Hampton Congregational Church, UCC, Hampton, CT
Federated Community Church, Hampden, MA
Dunbar United Church of Christ, Hamden, CT
Mt. Carmel Congregational Church, Hamden, CT
Spring Glen Church UCC, Hamden, CT
Whitneyville United Church of Christ, Hamden, CT
Halifax Congregational Church UCC, Halifax, MA
This Week in History:
September 1, 1985 (35 years ago) The Titanic is located seventy three years after it sank in the North Atlantic. Discovered by French oceanography Jean-Louis Michel and former Navy officer Robert Ballard, the wreck lay split in two at 13,000 feet. Since the discovery, many explorations have caused significant damage to the wreckage as treasure hunters recover items which sell for thousands at auctions, despite efforts to declare the wreck an international conservation area. To date, only the US and the UK have agreed to any restrictions.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”