Disciples News Service
Sharon Watkins and Robert Welsh send their greetings to the Roman Catholic community during their time of transition.Read more
On the day that Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast, one pastor of a Disciples congregation in Brooklyn threw a case of water in the back seat of his car and headed out to the worst hit zone nearby. That congregation is now adopting two schools for the long haul. Another partner congregation, within days had worked their connections and were bringing van loads of food and water and supplies to the hardest hit areas.
So much has happened in the news since “Superstorm Sandy” that the nation would almost have forgotten about it – except for the spotlight that Governor Christie of New Jersey brings to the Congressional wrangling over aid funding.
But the people who lived through Sandy won’t forget this storm ever.Read more
Every season has its beauty. The stark leafless trees against the Midwest winter sky can be breathtaking. Perhaps because the winter cold has set in, though, I am thinking of spring! There is that great moment in spring when you first take off the heavy coat and boots, scarves and gloves and step outside in your shirt sleeves to feel the sun warm against your skin. You move out unencumbered, free to explore the greening, budding world of new life that has been waiting all winter to be born.Read more
As we think of the deaths of so many in Newtown, Connecticut, we know a couple of things. As our president said, our hearts are broken. But we also know, as William Sloan Coffin reminded us so many years ago, that God’s heart was the first to break – over the brokenness in the mind of young Adam and then for all that happened at his hand to so many precious children and their teachers. God weeps along with all of us for their families and classmates, for the first responders, the care givers, and for all of us who now need to think “what is our response?”
There’s a particular horror for Christians that it happened in this season – this season of light. But this season can also be the source of comfort and even hope for us. It’s at this season that we remember in a focused way, the presence of God.
At Advent and Christmas, we remember that God loves us so much as to come in person, as a vulnerable child, to walk with us. To be hungry like us, cold, tired at times, and eventually to die just like we do. In this season we think of God as Immanuel – God with us. A God of ultimate love, who walks in ultimate solidarity with us.
And so we know that even in our pain God is with us, and God gets it. We can turn to God with our anger and hurt and questions and dismay. We can lean on God’s presence for comfort and rest. And we can draw on God for strength – to help us find the energy to reach out to those who are so grievously injured in this – and to find the commitment to work for a day when children of God are not subject to violence – either in classrooms or on city streets.
O God receive our tears, we pray. Take our questions upon yourself. Turn our anger into righteous action representing your love for every person you have created. Give us strength that we who have experienced such horror may nevertheless be messengers of your peace and the embodiment of your love. In the name of the vulnerable child, Jesus, and the ever-present risen Christ, we pray. AMEN
For advice and thoughts from our NBA children’s ministries, please go to their website.Read more
These days immediately following the 2012 general election, some of us are cheering and some are weeping. I’ve done both, following various elections. Whatever we may think about the results of the election, it is clearer than ever that the United States is a country of great diversity. With the voting over, we now turn our attention to fulfilling our common vision of many people, one nation. The challenge is to ensure that the blessing of diversity does not remain a quagmire of division.
It’s not our challenge alone. Within hours of the final tallies I received three e-mail messages from Disciples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These Congolese brothers – leaders in the church there – had, like so many Americans, stayed up all night watching the outcome of our vote. One said, “Your elections affect our lives, too.” Nothing is purely local anymore. We are part of a global community.
Which leads me to prayer.Read more
There’s a story I often tell about a long trip over bumpy roads in the back of a flat bed truck in Congo. Tired people at the end of a multiple-day church meeting start the trip home in silence; then someone starts to sing a song – in an unfamiliar language but to a familiar Gospel tune. Someone else picks up the tune in a different language, and someone else and finally me – in English. Then we sing another, and another. By the time we get to town, we’re energized, praising God and singing. But now the songs are songs of Congo, learned from each other. We sing in one voice, new songs of praise.Read more
Recently I had the joy of attending the 16th Hispanic and Bilingual Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Here – first in Spanish (thank you Elizabeth Carrasquillo for the translation!) and then in English.
Jesús está en la casa —
En la Asamblea Hispana uno siente que ¡Jesús está en la casa! Es parte de la razón por la cual voy a la Asamblea Hispana y Bilingüe de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo). Soy renovada por la adoración avivada, la oración ferviente, la espontaneidad de llamar al Dios vivo y activo para que nos de fuerzas y ayuda y esperanza. La Asamblea Hispana es siempre un tiempo de alabar, lamentar, y ofrecer intercesión ante Dios presente en Jesucristo. Renueva me alma y vuelve a enfocar mis ojos sobre nuestra misión de ser y compartir las buenas nuevas como un movimiento para la entereza.Read more