North Greenwich Congregational Church
Pastor’s Weekly Update
June 22, 2018
From the Backcountry …
“Oh that I had the wings of a dove to fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55
Summer, at last … the time of year to plan our get-a-ways. Even though studies indicate that vacations can be high stress undertakings, we eagerly await those few days when we can “fly away and be at rest.” Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor in the second century, was also a Stoic philosopher. He admitted that, like everyone, he yearned for a cottage in the country … for desolate seascapes and mountainsides.” But, he also cautioned that it’s foolish for us to seek inner peace in these distant retreats, when we have the power to find our needed rest and renewal by “retreating” into ourselves – wherever we happen to be! In fact, escaping life’s stress is much easier when we seek times of quiet every day.
Sunday, June 24 Morning Worship 10:30 a.m.
Lectionary Readings: Psalm 69; Mark 4: 35-41
Text: “A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.” Mark 4: 37
Sermon: “Eye of the Storm”
Tease: Each of the Gospels has a version of Jesus calming turbulent seas and Mark recounts an additional high seas windstorm! These are all essential passages. Storm clouds are beginning to gather over Jesus’ ministry, as opposition grows. None of his followers quite know what the future holds and many in Jesus’ entourage are terrified. While the tempest stories bring considerable drama to the Gospel narrative, they are nonetheless stories designed to calm our own anxious hearts during times of personal upheaval.
Our Wider Mission: Vamos Adelante (Moving Forward)
During the Lenten Season, we raised over $1,000.00 for a non-profit organization that serves 24 rural villages nestled below three volcanoes outside Guatemala City. On June 3, one of those volcanoes, Volcán de Fuego, erupted and buried two of those villages, El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes, with a fast moving pyroclastic flow (lava, ash, fumes and rocks.) Within minutes, entire families disappeared. Two hundred individuals remain unaccounted for. Homes, roads, and rustic infrastructure are devastated. Rest assured, however, that when it is safe for people to return to what remains of their villages, Vamos Adelante will be there helping them to rebuild, restore and replenish.
Tragically, the lives of these indigenous Guatemalans were a struggle prior to this disaster. You will remember that Vamos Adelante has been reaching out to these impoverished communities for over two decades - building schools, feeding the elderly, providing medical services, check-ups, and vaccinations at a clinic staffed by volunteer doctors and dentists. Our financial support also helps the organization provide water filters, woodstoves, solar lamps and small farm animals. Sponsors are found to ensure school-aged children are in classrooms, rather than working in the fields. Scholarships are also awarded to middle school and high school students.
I would urge you to revisit their website: www.vamosadelante.org and reacquaint yourself with their amazing work. In the meantime, it’s a comfort to know that our donations are assisting in all of these efforts. Vemos Adelante! Ever forward!!
See you Sunday,