Rev. Dr. Jeffrey M. Gallagher is the Senior Pastor of the United Congregational Church of Tolland, Chaplain of the Tolland Fire Department and Connecticut State Police, and author of the book Wilderness Blessings: How Down Syndrome Reconstructed Our Life and Faith.
Scripture: Colossians 1:11-20 (NRSV)
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Reflection: The Good Old Days?
My wife is a big fan of HGTV. She loves all the home renovation shows and the ones in which lottery winners decide which island they’re going to purchase with their scratch ticket winnings. I admit that I’m not a huge fan, but I will say that one recently piqued my interest: A Very Brady Renovation.
For the bargain price of $3.5 million, HGTV purchased the home that was used on the iconic TV show The Brady Bunch. Or I should say they purchased the home which was pictured as the exterior of the Brady home. The inside actually looked nothing like the one on TV. So HGTV paired up its top renovators with the actors who played the Brady kids and turned what was just an exterior shell into an exact replica of the famed TV home. From the vase Peter broke while playing ball in the house, to the turf backyard on which Marcia’s nose was broken, to Greg’s groovy attic room, the transformation was incredible.
It was fascinating to watch it happen, and I admit that as I watched it, I felt myself thinking back to simpler times—times of watching the sitcom in reruns as a kid, when life just seemed simpler.
Churches know a little something about pining for the good old days, don’t we? For hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear someone reminiscing about that era in which The Brady Bunch would have been new on TV, when our pews were full and our Sunday schools were overflowing.
And I have to wonder if it was a similar pining that was behind the creation of Reign of Christ Sunday. Begun in 1925 by Pope Pious XI, the Sunday was intended to combat the secularism that was on the rise by reminding people who truly should reign supreme in their lives: Jesus—who I’m sure they were saying in 1925, used to be the focus back in the good old days of simpler times.
Well, we all know we can’t go back—not to 1925, not to The Brady Bunch era, not even to last week. We have to move forward. And so, for me, that’s what Reign of Christ Sunday is all about. It’s not about looking back, it’s about looking forward to a day and an age when we actually do incarnate the life and teachings of the one who was made in the image of the invisible God, as the text says; a time in which we no longer live under the power of darkness of the world, but live into and within God’s kingdom of redemption and forgiveness.
That, to me, is what this prayer for the community Colossae is all about: a life and a world transformed—better than even the good-est good old days.
So as we stand on the precipice of our Advent journey and the start of this new church year together, let’s resolve to make today the good old days of Paul’s prayer come true.
Besides, do we really want to go back to the days of plaid pants anyway?
Holy God, help us to believe that we can make today the good old days of tomorrow, and to live in such a way as to make it happen. 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 or suffering after three mass shootings in California Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 12 people were killed and 10 more injured. Sunday's shooting is the 370th mass shooting in 2019.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For those who volunteer as coaches, leaders, and mentors for youth programs
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches In Your Prayers:
United Churches of Durham UCC
North Canaan Congregational Church
East Granby Congregational Church, UCC
First Church of Christ, Congregational in East Haddam
Congregational Church of East Hampton, UCC
This Week in History:
November 24, 1859 (160 years ago) Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. This groundbreaking paper summarized a theory of evolution involving genetic variations and environmental adaptation. Thought not an entirely new concept, Darwin was wary of releasing his theory because it contradicted the biblical account of creation. Indeed it was condemned by orthodox Christians as a work of heresy. Despite this fact, the paper sold out immediately and scientist widely embraced the theory, which remains central to many modern developments in genetics and molecular biology.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
the Senior Pastor of the United Congregational Church of Tolland and author of the book Wilderness Blessings: How Down Syndrome Reconstructed Our Life and Faith