Monday, March 25th
Throughout the year, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for March 25th: Psalm 39; Jeremiah 11:1-17; Romans 2:1-11. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
This Wednesday I have the chance to lead one of our Lenten Discussions. These talks have continued now for 22 Lents. They include various local congregations and pastors, and they give us a chance to delve a bit further into our faith. The discussion begins at 7PM and will be hosted by the Montague Congregational Church.
The title of my session is Romans 2:1: “Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.” I chose this passage back in January not because I looked at this week’s lectionary that far in advance, but because of the harsh divisiveness I see in our country and around the globe; and it is coming from all sides. We seem to be doing what we deplore in our opponents.
I hope and pray that our social climate has reached the pendulum’s limit and is heading back to center. The other day I posted on Hatfield Congregational Church’s FaceBook page a Scientific American interview with Marcelo Gleiser who was awarded the Templeton Prize, which honours the work of people who bring science and religion into conversation.
This Dartmouth professor had this to offer: “The point is, to understand modern science within this framework is to put humanity back into kind of a moral center of the universe, in which we have the moral duty to preserve this planet and its life with everything that we’ve got, because we understand how rare this whole game is and that for all practical purposes we are alone. For now, anyways. We have to do this! This is a message that I hope will resonate with lots of people, because to me what we really need right now in this increasingly divisive world is a new unifying myth. I mean ‘myth’ as a story that defines a culture. So, what is the myth that will define the culture of the 21st century? It has to be a myth of our species, not about any particular belief system or political party.”
As I said, the Templeton Prize acknowledges the beneficial link between science and spirituality. I hope the science of our unifying myth, which is our shared existence on this unique, small, blue dot of a blessed planet, reinforces the spirituality of our unity in God, and that these two in concert may help us to converse with each other again across our divides. Hopefully, science and religion, instead of exacerbating our differences and rhetoric may temper our judgments against each other so that we may talk with each other, as Paul advocates, and as logic insists.
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