May-June 2017 Wayside Beacon

Please enjoy our May-June 2017 issue of the Wayside Beacon.

 

Click here or on the image to download.

 

 

Rev. Carol’s Message from this Issue:

 

I have a friend with whom I have wonderful theological discussions. She is a kind warm-hearted person who understands who Jesus was better than someChristians. My friend happens to be Jewish. She has been hurt by some of the false statements that Mary Luti’s points out in her devotional. It is important to Christians and Jews to understand that we worship the same God and God’s unconditional love is poured out on ALL God’s people. I’ve include Mary’s devotional that speaks the truth in love. My prayer is that our ears will hear these words, that our minds will be open to them, and that our hearts will be moved.

Bearing False Witness Mary Luti                                               April 26, 2017

“God has not rejected his people whom [God] foreknew.” – Romans 11: 2

Here are a few things I’ve heard well-educated progressive Christians say recently:
“Our God is a God of love, not like the God of the Old Testament.”

“Jesus was always breaking the Law that excluded outcasts, the sick and disabled, women, the poor and unclean.”

“Jesus opposed the legalistic religion of his day, inviting us into a way of grace.”

“Jesus removes the barriers of Jewish tribalism and exclusivity. The reach of his Church is universal.”

 

Here’s the trouble—none of them is true. They depend for their punch on caricatures. They trump a Judaism that never was. And they contribute to the persistence of a sometimes unconscious but always harmful anti-Judaism in our churches.

I don’t know what it will take to get us to stop trotting out these stereotypes. To stop making Judaism the foil for Christian superiority, the straw man we knock down and sweep away to show how great Jesus was. I don’t know what it will take to convince us that loving Jesus doesn’t mean we have to turn Judaism into a narrow, nit-picking, mean, oppressive, bad religion, superfluous and obsolete.

I don’t know what it will take to get us to stop bearing false witness against our neighbors. To stop writing Jews out of their own story. To finally wipe this ancient stain from the Christian heart. But we have to do something, start somewhere.

What if we do this one thing today? Take a deep repentant breath with me. Now, repeat after Paul: “God has not rejected God’s people, God has not rejected God’s people, God has not rejected God’s people…”

Prayer Faithful One, forgive us. We have been rivals for blessings, wanting the most and best for ourselves. But when you bestow a blessing, it is forever. If you bestow a second, you don’t withdraw the first. If one shines, the others do not dim. And there are more blessings in your hand than stars in the starry sky. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.

Blessings
Rev. Carol

Pastor Appreciation Day 2016

 

 

rev-carol-deacons

On Sunday, October 30, 2016,  we gathered after our service for a special coffee hour as we celebrated Rev Carol on our Pastor Appreciation Day. The deacons were full of gratitude as they conveyed their love with a festive cake and lots of smiles. The congregation joined in with heartfelt appreciation and conversation.

 

 

past-app-day

 

 

past-app-day2

 

Blessing of the Animals 2016

Our Annual Blessing of the Animals took place on Sunday, October 2nd.  Rev Carol blessed many precious beings that parishioners brought to the church including dogs, cats and even stuffed animals.  Our biggest visitor was Allegheny, a very handsome 28 yr old Haflinger horse. He returned the blessing by sharing his gentleness and sweet-natured spirit with us.

 

img_5558

World Wide Communion Sunday 2016

Today we had a very special Communion Sunday, with a celebration of Communion world-wide.

A variety of breads were offered by Reverend Carol including challah, poppyseed, 7-grain, cornbread, Italian, pumpernickel, Chinese fortune cookies, rye, berry, pita, and several more.

Everyone enjoyed sampling and remembering our neighbors around the world.

 

ww-communion2

Second Chance Tag Sale – Sept 10

Slide1Our Annual Tag Sale in August was quite successful  – however, it was one of those extremely hot days where you could fry an egg on a stone!  We think this kept some people from visiting.  That, and the fact that people had additional nice things they wanted to donate, brings us to do another tag sale this month.

 

Visit our 2nd Chance Tag Sale on September 10th!

 

The weather is certain to be a lot cooler which makes for comfortable sidewalk shopping.  We will see you then!

 

 

Make Love Your Aim!

Broad Brook Congregational Church

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fathers’ Day

June 19, 2016

 

loveaim“Make Love Your Aim!”

A lament

 

Dear God,

Last Sunday we worshiped in an attitude of joy and celebration as the youngest members of the BBCC flock told us what they had learned over the past 10 months.

 

It was a time when we celebrated the gifts of Chelsea Morin who served as Mrs. York’s assistant. We sent her on her way to follow a new path with blessings from us, and your guiding presence, O God of wisdom. We gave thanks for Mrs. York and Mrs. Signor and the gifts you have given them that they share with the children.

It was a glorious day!

 

However, for me, this Sunday feels much different.

It is one of those times when, once again, the anger in me feels right.

It is a time when, once again, the frustration I feel seems justified.

It is a time when, once again, the grief I feel is profound.

It is a time when, once again, my heart feels torn apart.

It is a time when, once again, hopelessness tries to seep into my thoughts

if I am not careful.

It is a time when, once again, I lament that our nation fails to make love its aim.

And Yet! And Yet! And Yet!

Rising from the darkness bursts a light that shines so bright.

In the silence I hear your still small voice!

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE- Your divine love!

 

God, 49 of your children killed and 53 wounded in an act of HATE and TERRORISM!

Your children, our brothers, sisters, and siblings, who were gunned down simply for loving whom they loved—beautiful innocent people whose hopes and dreams ended too soon. Once again a community has been singled out and violated in a horrific way; and “homophobia continues to threaten the safety and sanctity of another’s person’s right to pursue happiness.” Whether, as a Christian, one agrees or disagrees with that, it must not give rise to the hateful speech being spewed out

by certain religious leaders. I cry out to you O God! No one and I mean NO ONE deserves to be demonized because of their race, sexual orientation, faith, or gender identity!

 

God of justice, I don’t want to have to say “once again” in response to another mass shooting. How long, O God? How long must we wait to see justice for the oppressed?

My anger and frustration are focused on this country’s ideology that one group’s “rights” trumps another group’s. You have woven us into a single tapestry

of rich and colorful diversity that makes up the fabric of this nation.

We are all descended from immigrants. The only ones who can claim aboriginal heritage are Native Americans and God you know how they were treated.

It is long past time that our Congress started listening to the majority of its constituents who are in favor of gun legislation that would lower the risk

of those with an agenda, of those with a proclivity for violence, and

of those with a distorted view of humanity from getting assault rifles and

destroying so many lives. God, it is my most humble opinion

that there is no reason, in all of Your creation, that an ordinary citizen needs an assault rifle for “fun”, sport, or otherwise. God, I am not against owning a gun because I must confess I own a shotgun. My anger lies with a gun industry and a gun lobby that has grown much too powerful and a Congress that is too weak to take a stand.

 

I grieve for the families, the victims, the first responders, the police, and the doctors and nurses whose lives have been forever changed because of what they have endured. I grieve for parents and children of Sandy Hook who have to relive their experiences again. I grieve for all those who have lost loved ones to gun violence of any kind. God, I know you weep with them.

 

I see our nation becoming desensitized, growing numb to the experience

of dealing with our corporate grief as each new mass murder occurs.

There is a sense of hopelessness for some. It is a sense that nothing will change—

“ It is what it is!” There are no easy answers but there are answers.

That is what gives me hope. The conversations need to begin. Each side needs to listen carefully and respectfully to the other side. Most importantly churches need to speak the truth in love. They can no longer sit in silence when injustice rears its ugly head. God you are calling your faithful to action.

 

It is one of those times when, once again, the anger in me feels right.

It is a time when, once again, the frustration I feel seems justified.

It is a time when, once again, the grief I feel is profound.

It is a time when, once again, my heart feels torn apart.

It is a time when, once again, hopelessness tries to seep into my thoughts

if I am not careful.

And Yet! And Yet! And Yet!

Rising from the darkness is a light that shines bright.

In the silence I hear your still small voice!

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE- Your divine love!

 

From the darkness, God, I see your light shining brightly and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I see people being kind.

I hear stories of people supporting the community in Orlando.

I hear prayers being said in a diversity of sanctuaries.

I see other nations speaking words of comfort and solidarity.

I hear our Connecticut Senators filibustering –calling for action and justice to honor the victims of all acts of violence with guns.

I hear conversations that express deep grief but also hope—hope that drives away despair. Your light is showing us where you want us to go. Grant us the courage to follow the example Christ has set for us!

 

In the silence I hear your still small voice calling. I recall what Jesus said to the crowd in his Sermon on the Mount and how he calls them and us to love our enemies. He said, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matt 5: 43-45a).

To be fully the people you want us to be, O God,we must love our enemies and pray for them. The apostle Paul wrote, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. If you return evil for evil you become like your enemy. Imitate Christ.”

 

O God, what a difficult thing you ask of us. But we know that being a follower of Christ is not easy. Therefore, we pray for open minds and courage to love our enemies!

 

And yet! And yet! And yet!

 

My broken heart still holds on to LOVE—Your divine love.

You, O Holy One, who first loved us, who taught us how to love, you heal our brokenness with love. Jesus is the image of God who is met in ordinary life, wherever the brokenness of this world can no longer be overlooked. God thank you for Your healing love. Mend our broken hearts, we pray, and let them be filled with an abundance of love so that we may pour out love to one another even to those whom we view as enemies. Grant that we may strive to make LOVE our aim!

In the greatest of hope….

 

Rev. Carol Lewis