From the Backcountry

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

March 16, 2018

 "Cleanse me, and I shall be whiter than snow."   Psalm 51:7

"Cleanse me, and I shall be whiter than snow."   Psalm 51:7

From the Backcountry …

As the season of Lent comes to a close, I urge the congregation to spend some time in reflection.  Next week, we will finally celebrate the beginning of spring, the time of year when we are motivated to do some cleaning and get our external lives in order.  Lent is also the time to cleanse our internal spaces, to identify and remove those malingering obstacles that clutter our subliminal attics.  What wrongs continue to disturb you?  What relationships continue to cause you heartache?   Is there a childhood trauma that follows you?  Are you struggling with some vestige of prejudice?  Are you fettered by some unresolved hatred?   What about those bygone voices of authority still scolding you?    Maybe you’re carrying a burden of guilt for something done long ago.

Once you have gathered up these obstructions, go for a walk.  At our book study last night, a participant shared how nature often provides solace in times of need.  Let your eyes focus on things that seem to speak to you about your concerns: a fallen leaf, a feather, a berry, a piece of bark, a flower.  Without scarring the landscape, make a little collage of these objects in a quiet place - something creative and beautiful.  Leave it there, along with your pain, your sorrow, your anger, your frustration.  A new day has begun.

Sunday, March 18   Fifth Sunday in Lent   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Jeremiah 31: 31-34;  John 12: 20-33

Text:  “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain.  But, if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24.

Sermon:  “A Voice for the Voiceless”

Tease:  In short order, the Roman Catholic Church will be canonizing Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint.  No doubt, we will be hearing a lot more about this remarkable individual in the weeks and months to come.  As a seminarian, I studied Romero’s writings and found him to be a profound influence in my own spiritual journey.  In fact, I was doing a study leave at the Weston Priory in Vermont the day he was assassinated by a Salvadoran Death Squad in 1980.  Much of my remaining time there was spent discussing the impact the champion of human rights had on our lives and how it becomes our challenge to carry on his ministry to the most vulnerable segments of the human community.  In a world that needs more role models, I can’t think of another individual whose life more gloriously reflects our gospel lesson of the week.

Guatemala.jpg

2018 Lenten Mission Offering

As we consider some of the most vulnerable segments of the human community, Guatemala is certainly among them.  For many years, Greenwich World Hunger Association has been supporting the outreach of Proyecto Vamos Adelante.  Over the past month, I have been sharing some amazing stories that contribute to improving the wellbeing of families suffering the effects of abject poverty.  It is our privilege to participate in these efforts through our gifts to Lenten Mission Offering.  There are only two weeks left to the campaign.  So, if you haven’t had an opportunity to participate, please consider a donation.  Checks can be written to North Greenwich Congregational Church.  We will forward the funds to GWHA as one gift on behalf of our church family. 

Erin Go Bragh!

Royal

Road Rules:  “Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.”    Mary Ann Brusatt