Pastor’s Pondering –
A 2 Chronicles 7:14 Moment? Admittedly, it is next to impossible to take the words from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and directly apply them to our modern-day situations; perhaps, especially, in a country like ours. Here, in the United States, an individual’s freedoms and liberties are prized above all else. The Israelites, to whom these words were spoken, had a contract, a covenant, with God. It was quite explicit: “If you obey the laws and commandments,” God said, “I will protect you and keep you from harm. But, if you choose other values and ideas, then all bets are off.” Indeed, they were led to believe they could face drought, pestilence and all the rest for not keeping their end of the agreement. So, when they found themselves experiencing what they understood to be a judgment from God (some calamity or another), the advice was always the same: “Change direction.”
Again, we can have conversations about the various troubling situations we find ourselves in as a nation and whether they have anything to do with our breaking covenant with God’s desires, but the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 (words I used to detest when I heard them spoken by fundamentalist preachers to condemn certain individuals) come to mind as I see the crimes being committed against those fleeing their homelands for a “safer,” “more tranquil life” here in the Untied States. “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
If you do not subscribe to the magazine “Sojourners,” you may want to consider doing so. Every month, when it comes to our mailbox, it is a sign of hope that I, or even the few of us together, are not alone in pushing against the various horrors we hear about every evening on the news. Indeed, as a response to the most recent news of the gruesome conditions in which this administration has placed immigrant children, the magazine has countless articles and invitations of ways to push back. This morning, when I went to Sojourners website, I discovered this hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. She is a Presbyterian pastor and she has given permission to share it.
Christ, You Spoke to Us of Children
W ZLOBIE LEZY 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.4.4.7 (“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”)
Christ, you spoke to us of children:
“Let the children come to me.
Do not stop them, for the kingdom
Is for little ones like these.”
God, we grieve now as our nation
Fails its moral obligation
To receive the refugees.
Christ, you spoke of God’s intention:
“Do not cause my children harm!”
Yet we place them in detention,
Far from loved ones, scared and worn.
Children, huddled close together,
Grieve for families that are severed;
God of love, what have we done?
Christ, you taught us to give water
And to help the ones who thirst.
Yet in places near the border,
We confess we’ve done our worst.
Those who walk must now walk farther.
We have made their journey harder;
We dump water in the dirt.
God of immigrant and stranger,
God who welcomes those in need,
When your children are in danger,
Will we love them or concede?
May we not seek cheap forgiveness
Till we dare to work for justice—
Till your little ones are freed.
[Biblical References: Isaiah 58; Matthew 19:14 18:6; 25:31-46; James 2:14-26.]
The reference to James 2 is the pasage that speaks of faith without works being dead. And though I don’t know if this is a 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment, it sure feels like it.
– A Word From the Stewardship Committee: Summer is here and that means vacation plans may keep you from attending worship and keeping up your pledge. Don’t forget that the expenses for CUCC are not on vacation. There are bills that still need to be paid which are dependent upon your pledged contributions. Here are a couple of ways to keep your pledge to support CUCC on track if you will be missing Sunday worship services this summer:
1. Consider making your contributions to CUCC by mail. The address is: Columbia United Christian Church, Attention: Debi Knapp – Financial Secretary, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD 21045.
2. Consider prepaying your pledge for the summer months and putting it in the offering basket next Sunday or the next time you are in attendance. Indicate on your check the months you are prepaying for.
And, for those of you that didn’t pledge last fall but are placing your offering in the basket each Sunday, it’s not too late to have those contributions accounted for so that you will get a contribution statement for 2019. Instead of placing cash in the basket, write a check! Thank you for your financial support of CUCC.