Stirred, Not Shaken

Stirred, Not Shaken


Reverend Ray Medeiros is recently retired after serving UCC churches in Bernardston and Westminster, Massachusetts.

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 (NRSV)

The Man of Lawlessness
As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

Chosen for Salvation
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.


Reflection: Stirred, Not Shaken 


Growing up, one of my favorite fictional heroes was James Bond. No matter what evil villains and nasty plots S.P.E.C.T.R.E. conjured up, 007 faithfully conducted his duty to Her Majesty’s service with unflappable confidence and determination. His British sense of commitment to preserving order showed all the way down to his taste for martinis, which he insisted be “shaken, not stirred.”

Lately, I’ve found myself yearning for a dash of that sort of Bondesque composure under difficult circumstances. Because some days the temptation to shun watching or reading the news in order to keep hopelessness at bay sneaks up on me. For someone who subscribes to Karl Barth’s advice to “take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both,'' this is not a confession that I am particularly proud to share publicly. But the volume and intensity of Bad News these days has been taking an inevitable toll. It is the Bad News of politicians who shamelessly exalt themselves at the expense of our democratic principles and processes. Of people shunning the truth to embrace viral conspiracy theories. Of wars and rumors of nuclear war. Of rollbacks of human rights, and expanding climate catastrophes.  The ugliness and prevalence of this Bad News can be enough to render even the most faithful of us shaken, but not stirred to the kind of prayerful and confident engagement Jesus calls us to pursue.

All we have are educated guesses as to precisely what sort of Bad News had rattled the first century Thessalonian Church. Paul is not specific about the details. But it was serious enough to have left those believers wondering if the end times were upon them. What needs no explanation though, is Paul’s encouragement that they not be shaken in their faith by what they were witnessing. Rather than being daunted by the Bad News that was rocking their world, he urges them to be stirred to a renewed trust in the Good News they had received from him. He reminds them of their certain status as God’s beloved community, firmly established on the foundational truth revealed in Jesus. The Good News that they are chosen and called by God to proclaim through their words and deeds, even in a world that is shaken by untruths and bad news propagated by those whose gods are their own status and power. They are heartened to stand firm on the solid ground of what they have believed about divine grace, love and justice. 

Paul speaks a benediction over those in the Thessalonian community of believers, that they be comforted in their hearts and strengthened in the good work and word they are commissioned to proclaim and perform, as Christ’s disciples in the world. 

May we hear that benediction spoken to us today, so that when confronted by the Bad News of our times, we too may respond by being stirred, not shaken.


For You alone, O God, my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from You. Remind me that You alone are my rock, my salvation, and my fortress. Then I shall not be shaken, but comforted; and stirred to acts of love, peace, and liberation. 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 Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~36,500 gun violence deaths in the US this year
  • For the friends and family of the The Rev. Holly E. Johnston who served Rockdale Congregational Church in Northbridge, MA, First Evangelical Congregational Church in Uxbridge, MA, and the First Congregational Church in Griswold, CT.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For the wedding of  Executive Conference Minister The Rev. Darrell Goodwin and his fiancé Mr. Kentavis “Kenny” Brice this past weekend.
  • For the 1400 Authorized Ministers and a host of MID's in the SNEUCC during October, Clergy Appreciation Month 
  • For those who stir

 This Week in History:

October 31, 1517 (505 years ago):  Legend has it that the priest and scholar Martin Luther approaches the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nails a piece of paper to it containing the 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation. [History

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

Ray Medeiros

Reverend Ray Medeiros is recently retired after serving UCC churches in Bernardston and Westminster, Massachusetts.

October 31, 2022
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