This week's author is Jennifer Kronholm Clark, Administrator for Silver Lake Conference Center.
Scripture: Matthew 5:21-24 (The Message)“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.
“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
Reflection:I admit, it was hard to read Jesus's words from Matthew this week. I generally think of myself as doing okay in the morality department: I don't kill, that's for sure, and I don't steal, or lie, or covet anyone's wife. I try not to curse, at least not too much. I try to do the right thing: I give money to causes I believe in, I stand up for human rights, I even convinced my mom to call her senators.
But I do get angry.
Between my Facebook feed and NPR, I often have a head of steam worked up by the time I get to work in the morning. I admit, my feelings towards those on the other side of certain issues are not always charitable. I might not call anyone "idiot!" or "stupid!" to their face, but I might grumble it under my breath – or yell it at the radio – and I certainly have thought it pretty hard in someone's direction.
In a time when careless words can literally kill, we must be vigilant about not letting our anger fester. I don't think that Jesus expects us to never be angry. I do think that Jesus expects us to address our anger in a productive way. The next time I find myself grumbling over my Facebook feed, I'm going to try to take a breath and release my anger before I respond.
Prayer:Lord, give me the courage to face my anger. Help me to reach out to my neighbor from a place of love.
Special Prayer Requests:New Requests:
- John Polglase, husband of the Rev. Betsey Polglase, Pastor of the Columbia Congregational Church UCC, who has chronic pulmonary disease;
- Frank McCaffrey, father of Rev. Matt McCaffrey, Pastor of Waterford Congregational UCC, who is suffering from a severe heart condition;
- The family of Rev. Shannon Rye Wall and her husband Larry; and
- The family and friends of Rebecca Hardee, wife of the Rev. Dr. Brian C. Hardee, Pastor of West Avon Congregational Church. Rebecca died on Jan. 31.
- The people of Quebec City, Quebec after a gunmen attacked a mosque in the city killing 6 people on Jan. 29;
- the Rev. Joseph Tobin Jr., pastor of Church Of Christ, Congregational in Goshen, whose mother, Raimonda Tobin, died on Jan. 19 ;
- the Rev. Micki Nunn-Miller, who had knee surgery on Jan. 17;
- Debi Mastroni Kenyon, Director of Faith Formation at Monroe Congregational Church, who had surgery on Jan. 18;
- The Rev. John Livingston, senior pastor of the United Church of Rowayton, whose father, Wes Livingston, died on January 11.
- those grieving after a Turkish cargo place crashed in Kyrgyzstan leaving 37 dead on Jan. 16;
- the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
- Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
- Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
- Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
- the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
- our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
- the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
- the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
- this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism;
- those suffering due to the ongoing financial woes of the nation, be they struggling to meet an unaffordable mortgage, seeking employment, or working to find just resolutions; and
- those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
The First Congregational Church, Canton Center
Brenda M. Pelc-Faszcza - DT
Central Village Congregational Church
Kenneth A. Ferguson - IN
Gordon C. Johnson - PE
First Congregational Church of Cheshire, UCC
Mark D. Montgomery - IN
Alison G. Mccaffrey - AP
Todd Skryniarz - Y
Caroll Cyr - CE
Joe D’Eugenio - MM
The United Church of Chester
Lee A. Ireland - IN
First Church of Christ Congregational, UCC
Christopher C Horvath - P
February 06, 2017