A message from Rev. Jim
Jim’s “Staying Connected” pastoral letter for May 28, 2020
Dear Friends and Members of CCEH,
I share below a meditation shared with me by my friends and former colleagues at the Orange Congregation Church, UCC, in Orange, CT. It nourished my spirit. I pray it will nourish yours as well.
Practicing in the Presence of God
How is it with your soul?
Where have you been finding moments of respite, of peace? Or are you still looking for that piece of balance in these new days? If you’ve been waiting for peace to creep into your world, I encourage you to take some time to be quiet and open your heart to the presence of God.
The below scripture texts are all about hope.
I encourage you to read these scriptures out loud. Hear yourself saying these words out loud. If you’re alone, perhaps you can grab a notebook or journal and write your responses to the questions or your thoughts about these passages. If there are other people in your home, have one member of your family read aloud to the other(s) and spend some time discussing the passages and what thoughts the questions prompt in you. Then spend some time praying for one another, knowing others are praying for you.
Make this an intentional time of spiritual practice.
Find space to be still and open your hearts to the presence of God’s Spirit.
Make a cup of tea, light a candle, take a deep breath, remember God is with you – within you.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
~How long are you willing to have hope? How long are you willing to defer the joy you’d feel when hope is fulfilled? How difficult is it for you when your faith — your belief that better things could happen — is challenged by delayed hope? What does your spirit feel when faith falters and hope seems far away?
~What parts of Holy Scripture bring you hope? What is it about those passages that speak to you?
~What are some things that bring you hope these days? For what do you still hope?
~What is God saying to you through this scripture passage today?
Be still for a bit and ponder; open your heart and your ears to God’s message for you.
Finish your time of contemplation on this story by praying the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
-Julian of Norwich