Throughout the year, the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ reproduces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for March 19th: Psalm 63:1-8; Isaiah 5:1-7; and Luke 6:43-45. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
I will be attending the Southern New England Conference’s Super Saturday gathering today. The general theme of the day is “A future with hope.” Hope is a precious commodity in these times. I can’t help but remember back only a month ago as Russia stood poised on the Ukrainian border. News outlets were interviewing young people enjoying coffee at a café. Families were secure and going about their daily activities. And then everything changed. Now beautiful city centers are ablaze. Streets are filled not with traffic, but now with anti-tank barriers. People who were earning a living are now fighting invaders. Morgues have run out of caskets and people must be buried in mass graves.
How quickly the world changed for them, and how quickly it could change anywhere, how quickly it could change here. I find it hard to believe that strategists even consider using nuclear weapons even if they are tactical ones. Once you cross the Rubicon, you can’t just back out. Everything changes once you make that decision. And God help us if someone does.
So before someone dares to make the nuclear decision, we need to pray and act for peace. Before the war in Ukraine grows even more destructive, we need to pray and act for peace. In today’s Gospel selection, Jesus teaches, “‘The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good …’” This is why Jesus is concerned about our intentions and not only our actions. The good that we can do emerges from the good we believe.
I’m looking forward to today’s “A future with hope.” I think faith is especially powerful in times of confusion because faith can make hope believable, not like a fairytale believable, but because faith has the ability to prod us along to becoming our better selves, and “the good treasure of the heart produces good.”
Maybe I’ll see you virtually at Super Saturday today, but if it’s too late for that, I do invite you to join us at worship tomorrow. You are welcome to join us in person or if you choose online. If online, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for the login.
If you’d like, here is the link to the Southern New England Conference’s daily reading schedule: www.sneucc.org/lectionary.
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