Dear Friends,

My hope is to provide a small daily devotional reflection to encourage and connect us.  I would love it if others who’d like to share their own thoughts and reflections would send them to me  (pastor@hollischurch.org); we can make this a joint project, which could become even more meaningful!

Click Psalm 23

These are strange and unsettling times.  But such moments invite us to root ourselves more deeply in our awareness of God’s presence, shepherding our souls.  They beckon us to claim the enforced space and time, for quietude and contemplation.  Lie down in green pastures (well, if it’s too chilly or none nearby, fire up the gift of your imagination as you lie on the sofa, bed, or floor with a pillow); draw near to the still waters.  Has it been a while since you noticed the stillness at your center?

Pay attention to what you miss – maybe start a gratitude journal that enumerates them.  Note where you experience flashes of love and belonging across the day.  It may come via the memory of a moment you shared a while ago with someone you cherish.  Recognize that the gift of memory is one way God reminds us that, even in the darkest valleys, Love journeys with us; maybe today, that memory is the steadying rod or staff that comforts.

If you’re on Facebook, you may have seen this poem by the Rev. Lynn Ungar.  She wrote it a few days ago, but its potency has made it go viral. (She’s aware of the irony) Click HERE to read the article.Here’s the poem:

Lynn Ungar

March 11 at 8:46 PM
Pandemic
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Prayer:
God our Shepherd and Companion,
We pray for those on the front lines of fighting this illness: those valiantly battling the virus, and those who have responded to your call to minister to the sick and most vulnerable.  In so doing, they have accepted enhanced vulnerability themselves; please bless and strengthen them.  We pray for our leaders: those who need wisdom and presence of mind to address this global crisis and serve the people entrusted to their care.  May they rise to this occasion, administering calm, clear, steady direction to panicked people.  We pray for ourselves, and our church community, that all of us might embrace this strange and unsettling time for what it has to offer us.  May we feel your embrace, and find creative ways to share that love with others.  Amen.

Finally, for those who love music, click:
“It Is Well with My Soul”

© 2020 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC