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
As Program Director, Jennifer Kronholm Clark hires and trains the paid summer staff and recruits and supports the volunteer leaders, or deans, and the counselors of the summer conference program, and creates print, email, and web publications. Prior ...