Day 188, September 23, 2020
This is the first full day of fall. Noon prayer time.
A Beginning: “Now is the moment of grace. This is a day of blessing. Today is the day of salvation. Here is the path to new life. Already joy is abounding, and love is flowing. For this is the day God is making. Let us rejoice in it.”
“O Lord God, you fill heaven and earth with your presence, and your eyes have watched over all from the foundation of the earth. We have heard the distant sound of your voice in prophets and apostles from long ago. But we are hard of hearing, so hard of hearing. Our eyes are dim and cannot see. Come nearer, Lord, and touch us with your presence. Lay your hand upon our hearts to bring forth your praise. Amen.”
A Litany for the Earth:
“For the beauty of the earth, brilliant in design, exquisite in detail,
We thank you, great Creator.
For the reliable patterns of sun and shadow, warmth and cold,
We praise you for the cycles that sustain life.
For the wonder of birth and the reverent return of all things to the earth,
We wonder at the mystery and majesty of your ways.
For the blossoming abundance by which we are fed, clothed and sheltered,
Accept our grateful hearts.
For sparkling waters and refreshing rain,
We bless you and rejoice.
For places of wildness and solitude that restore our souls,
We thank you with all our heart and strength.
For challenging heights, hidden depths and mysteries that motivates us to search and to stretch our abilities.
We thank you with all our wit and wisdom.
For pure light, clear colors, striking contrasts,
We thank you with joy in our eyes.
For all beckoning paths and the hope of tomorrow,
We thank you and praise you, now and forever, Amen.”
A Prayer of Devotion to God
Lord, we often walk either carelessly or with too much care, through our daily duties and diversions, so that we lose sight of the path you have set before us that leads straight to you. As your Son said to Martha, who was occupied in so many things, ‘one thing is needful.’ Help us to remember our true calling, to serve and glorify you. You call us to come apart and rest awhile, to sit at your feet in quietness. We think now of the one commandment that you called the greatest, that we should love God with all our heats, minds and strength. With our whole beings, and with everything that is in us, let us praise your holy name, As Mary Magdalene poured upon your head that sweet perfume of devotion, so let us pour upon you the essence of our devotion, to the glory of your name. Amen.”
A Blessing: “May your day know God’s surprising grace, Christ’s incredible peace, and the Spirit’s unquenchable joy.”
Day 187, September 22, 2020
Today: restaurants and the wait staff and cooks.
Sadly, we in the US have gone beyond 200,000 deaths due to the COVID-19. I stand with science and urge us all to remain alert and cautious.
A Beginning: Autumn
“Abundance everywhere! God's creation overflowing with wonder. A delicate spider's web sparkling with morning dew; cool, fresh air on a fall afternoon; a crisp apple and the smell of pumpkin pie; a warm sweater and a tender embrace. God's love and grace, lavish, abundant and ever-present, a sense of presence in the quiet moments of prayer, a deep joy in the midst of a song. God's blessings, generous and abundant, causing us to sing.”
Holy God, as we enter into a new season of the year, we admit that we are not ready. Be with us as we welcome fall with all of its colors, harvests and blessings. We praise you for this time of year and that you journey with us. Bless this fall season in the midst of an abnormal year. Lead us precious Lord. Amen
A Prayer of Confession:
“Loving God, with silent persistence and prophetic witness you have loved every person and all of creation. You ache every time we destroy beauty, every time we harm one another, every time greed squashes kindness. You see when we ignore the outstretched hand and turn a deaf ear to cries for help. Merciful God, forgive us and let us take up the challenge to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly on the earth. Forgive us and let your Spirit fill us with courage. Forgive us and remind us of the ways you bless us. Never let us forget your all-embracing love! In Jesus' name. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith:
“We believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; of Moses and David; of Elijah and Isaiah.
We believe in the God of Sarah, Rebekkah and Rachel; of Miriam and Ruth; of Deborah and Esther.
We believe in Jesus, the incarnate God, who visited us at Bethlehem, who lived with us in Galilee, who died for us at Calvary, and who exploded the power of death on Easter morning.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God among us, and is the Spirit of Christ within us. This we believe.”
We have seen the frost on our roofs. The crisp morning air has returned, and we feel ourselves moving into a new season. Thanks be to you, O God for the seasons we experience in this part of the world. Thanks be to you, O God for the seasons we experience in life. We have turned up the thermostats and fired up the furnace. We have gone into our closets and found sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets and other fall clothing. Thanks be to you, O God for those who manufacture.
“Let fall colors remind us of you and the way you made the world more magnificent than any artist might even have imagined. And let our joy increase and spread. Through Jesus Christ, a man who really knew how to live, we say Amen.”
“May the goodness and mercy of the Lord be with us all now and forever. And may our service to God be diligent and unwavering all the days of our lives. In Christ's name. Amen.”
Quote: Our changed lives might be the only gospel some people will ever read. -Elaine Roulet
I am sharing a post from my daughter’s Facebook page for your reflection.
“I Miss 9/12”
I would never ever want another 9/11, but I miss the America of 9/12.
Stores ran out of flags to sell because they were being flown everywhere.
People were Americans before they were upper or lower class, Jewish or Christian, Republican or Democrat.
We hugged people without caring if they ate at Chic-Fil-A or wore Nikes.
On 9/12, what mattered more was what UNITED us. Than what divided us.
Day 186, September 21, 2020
From the Church Mouse
I have relied on Snopes’ for years to truth check everything. It is essential now because there is so much to fact check that Snopes’ keeps my head from exploding. This is a free service funded by people who become members due to their love of the truth. It does not accept funding from any other source. Membership is not required.
I recently used Snopes’ when it came to my attention during the 9/11 remembrances that our government had removed the health insurance funding from all FDNY personnel who had fallen ill from working at the pile for such a long time. Since I didn’t believe that could be true, I asked Snopes’. It was true.
I offer this resource to you if you are interested.
The site's name, Snopes’ is derived from the newsgroup handle of one of its creators, David Mikkelson, who used it as early as 1993. It is taken from the last name of a family that appears in three of William Faulker ’s novels.
Snopes is the internet’s definitive fact-checking resource.
When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don’t know what to trust, Snopes’ fact-checking and original, investigative reporting lights the way to evidence-based and contextualized analysis. We always document our sources, so readers are empowered to do independent research and make up their own minds.
Snopes got its start in 1994, investigating urban legends, hoaxes, and folklore. Founder David Mikkelson, later joined by his wife, was publishing online before most people were connected to the internet. As demand for reliable fact checks grew, so did Snopes. Now it’s the oldest and largest fact-checking site online, widely regarded by journalists, folklorists, and readers as an invaluable research companion.
Snopes.com is an independent publication owned by Snopes Media Group. Explore our FAQ to learn more about us, or consider becoming a Snopes member. If you have any questions, please let us know.
· Frequently Asked Qs
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Day 185 | Sunday, 20 September 2020
The assigned scripture lessons for this the 16th Sunday after Pentecost are: Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; or Psalm 78; Philippians 1:21-30 and Matthew 20:1-16.
Matthew 20:1-16 The Message
1 "God's kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2 They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
3 "Later, about nine o'clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed.
4 He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage.
5 They went.
6 At five o'clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, 'Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?
7 ' "They said, 'Because no one hired us.' "He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8 "When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, 'Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.'
9 "Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a dollar.
10 When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar.
11 Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager,
12 'These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.'
13 "He replied to the one speaking for the rest, 'Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn't we?
14 So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you.
15 Can't I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?'
16 "Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."
What is your first reaction after reading this parable?
Jesus is ushering in a new age from that of the Pharisees and Sadducees who are the keepers of the Law and very legalistic about how things should be interpreted. This is just one of Jesus’s parables that makes one’s head spin.
Let’s title this parable “Astonished by Grace.” “It provides a glimpse of the grace which is determinative in the New Age, and in so doing, it portrays the threat which grace represents to our conventional expectations.” (The Parables of Jesus: Glimpses of the New Age by Neal F. Fisher, pp 74-75.)
In most other translations, the wage is one denarius for a 12 hour day. That would have been a generous wage in that time. Here we have the last will be first concept. Those who were hired last were paid first. Those hired first were watching and probably raising their expectations for a higher wage but that was not to be. So, naturally they began to complain – this was just not fair. The employer responds by asking – Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Why should they begrudge him his generosity?
“The question was no longer why the employer distributed that which was his as he did; rather the question was why they begrudged him the right to do with his money what he out of sheer goodness chose to do.” Ibid p 75
We try to wrap our minds around God’s amazing grace and here it is – sheer incalculable grace at work. When the Pharisees understood this parable, they were incensed. Afterall, they had invested their entire lives to serious study of the Law. Here, those who walk into the Kingdom at the last minute become equal in status. WOW! Not fair.
“Perhaps only those who know that they cannot measure up are prepared to hear of grace as good news. To have faith is to embrace this possibility and to discover grace as hope and vindication for our lives. Those who believe that they have secured the basis for such vindication elsewhere will likely view this as offense and disruption.” Ibid p 77
Holy God, it is your grace to extend in any way you choose. Why should we object? Lord, hear our prayers.
Day 184, | Saturday, 19 September 2020
COVID-19 Update: As of September 18th, at 4:30 pm there were 602 cases in the county with 151 in 14701 zip code.
One of my favorite and sometimes most challenging times in the worship service was my time with the children. There was, on occasion, one kid who would completely mess up what I had planned. One of my best children’s moments was using a small tube of toothpaste. I would select one child, give them the tube of toothpaste and a paper plate. Then I would tell them to squeeze out all the tooth paste onto the paper plate. Then I would select another child and say to them, now you put the toothpaste back into the tube. You can imagine the looks and comments I would get from the kids upon that request. I would then talk about the words we say, especially when we are not getting our way or when we are unhappy with one of our parents or siblings. Once the words are out of the mouth, it is difficult to take them back. Another way to illustrate the same thing would be to take a feather pillow, cut it open, go outside and shake the feathers out – then try to pick them all up and put them back in the pillow. That is difficult especially on a windy day. Words, we can’t take them back once they are out.
Have you ever been a victim of another’s rumors or vicious words? It hurts doesn’t it.
Today's Scripture & Insight: Exodus 23:1-3 CEB Don’t spread false rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness. 2 Don’t take sides with important people to do wrong. When you act as a witness, don’t stretch the truth to favor important people. 3 But don’t privilege unimportant people in their lawsuits either. (Message "Don't pass on malicious gossip.”)
The following is from Amy Boucher Pye “After Charles Simeon (1759–1836) was named the minister of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England, he faced years of opposition. As most in the congregation had wanted the associate minister to be appointed rather than Simeon, they spread rumors about him and rejected his ministry—even at times locking him out of the church. But Simeon, who desired to be filled by God’s Spirit, sought to cope with the gossip by creating some principles to live by. One was never to believe rumors unless they were absolutely true and another was “always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter.” In this practice, Simeon followed God’s instructions to His people to cease the gossip and malicious talk He knew would erode their love for each other. One of God’s Ten Commandments reflects His desire for them to live truthfully: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Another instruction in Exodus reinforces this commandment: “Do not spread false reports” (23:1). Think of how different the world would be if each of us never spread rumors and false reports and if we stopped them the moment we heard them. May we rely on the Holy Spirit to help us speak the truth in love as we use our words to bring glory to God.”
Words – once they are out, they cannot be put back in. Rumors and false statements are very harmful. I believe I should purchase a truck load of small toothpaste tubes and send it to a whole lot of politicians.
“Jesus, help me to speak Your truth in love. Give me words that bring peace, grace, and encouragement.” Lord, hear our prayers and help us be truthful always. Amen.
Prayers for our country and the family of Supreme Court Justice RBG.
Day 183 | Friday, 18 September 2020
From the Church Mouse
I have read about this research and have been following it as closely as I can. When it appeared in the Post Journal, I decided it was time to feature it for you. This is the first time that I have been hopeful about the testing that is being done. I trust this testing, and it seems to have been free of political influence and the attendant rushing of the testing process. Perhaps, as we choose , we can pray for this process.
Jamestown Post Journal, September 16,2020 by Dennis Phillips
Tiny antibody component highly effective against SARS-COV-2 in animal studies
Worldpharmanews September 16, 2020
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that completely and specifically neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of COVID-19. This antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to construct a drug - known as Ab8 - for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers report today in the journal “Cell” that Ab8 is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. Its tiny size not only increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralize the virus, but also makes it possible to administer the drug by alternative routes, including inhalation. Importantly, it does not bind to human cells - a good sign that it won't have negative side-effects in people.
Ab8 was evaluated in conjunction with scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan.
"Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections," said co-author John Mellors, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPMC and Pitt. "Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune."
The tiny antibody component is the variable, heavy chain (VH) domain of an immunoglobulin, which is a type of antibody found in the blood. It was found by "fishing" in a pool of more than 100 billion potential candidates using the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as bait. Ab8 is created when the VH domain is fused to part of the immunoglobulin tail region, adding the immune functions of a full-size antibody without the bulk.
Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company, has licensed Ab8 for worldwide development.
Dimiter Dimitrov, Ph.D., senior author of the Cell publication and director of Pitt's Center for Antibody Therapeutics, was one of the first to discover neutralizing antibodies for the original SARS coronavirus in 2003. In the ensuing years, his team discovered potent antibodies against many other infectious diseases, including those caused by MERS-CoV, dengue, Hendra and Nipah viruses. The antibody against Hendra and Nipah viruses has been evaluated in humans and approved for clinical use on a compassionate basis in Australia.
Clinical trials are testing convalescent plasma - which contains antibodies from people who already had COVID-19 - as a treatment for those battling the infection, but there isn't enough plasma for those who might need it, and it isn't proven to work.
That's why Dimitrov and his team set out to isolate the gene for one or more antibodies that block the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which would allow for mass production. In February, Wei Li, Ph.D., assistant director of Pitt's Center for Therapeutic Antibodies and co-lead author of the research, began sifting through large libraries of antibody components made using human blood samples and found multiple therapeutic antibody candidates, including Ab8, in record time.
Then a team at UTMB's Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory, led by Chien-Te Kent Tseng, Ph.D., tested Ab8 using live SARS-CoV-2 virus. At very low concentrations, Ab8 completely blocked the virus from entering cells. With those results in hand, Ralph Baric, Ph.D., and his UNC colleagues tested Ab8 at varying concentrations in mice using a modified version of SARS-CoV-2 . Even at the lowest dose, Ab8 decreased by 10-fold the amount of infectious virus in those mice compared to their untreated counterparts. Ab8 also was effective in treating and preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters, as evaluated by Darryl Falzarano, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan. Sriram Subramaniam, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia uncovered the unique way Ab8 neutralizes the virus so effectively by using sophisticated electron microscopic techniques.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it," said Mellors, also Distinguished Professor of Medicine, who holds the Endowed Chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt. "We hope that the antibodies we have discovered will contribute to that triumph.
Today: Prayers for all those doing research to help discover a solution and a vaccine.
Note from the Computer Bug: I believe this is the article referenced in today’s Woodland Shepherd - https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S009286742031148X?token=D9C6F663BDABFA8C205879FCF66C05FDE4B2683523A1F343772EF84293716873670E2757140DCF765C4203BCC904A33F
Day 182 | Thursday, 17 September 2020
My least favorite time in the church year was when it was time to talk about giving – mainly financial to support the ministries of the church. I do know one thing for certain. One cannot be a good giver without first learning how to be a good receiver. The passage and thought below comes from Our Daily Bread.
Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 First from The Message
6 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.
7 I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
8 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
9 As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.
10 This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God,
11 wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Now from the CEB: 6 What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. 7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. 9 As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. 10 The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us.
“Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.” When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).” By: John Blase
“Reflect & Pray: How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like? “Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.”
Today: Continued prayers for those dealing with disasters – fires, hurricanes, personal.
Day 181 | Wednesday, 16 September 2020 See you at noon!
A Beginning: (Psalm 19:1-4)
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Praise the name of the LORD!”
“God of love, we confess that our silence is noisy, our minds filled with distracting chatter, our thoughts focused on problems and our lives bombarded with temptations. How hard we find it to be still and rest in your holy and healing presence. God of love teach us in this day the words to pray and the silences to keep. Quiet the tempests within us that we may hear you. In Jesus' name. Amen”
A Prayer of Confession: Generosity
“Holy God, your love is like a gentle wind that is forever guiding us along. Yet how often we turn away from your support and attempt to push ahead in our own way. We prefer our plans and miss seeing how we might cooperate with your guidance. We believe that it is by our own efforts that we accomplish the deed or possess the reward. We miss the spirit of joyful thanksgiving in our drivenness. We live without gratitude and languish in isolation. Holy God keep our sails turned toward you. In your guidance, in the example of your Son, we move toward joy, wholeness and community. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: The Lord Will Guide Us
(Genesis 12:1; Exodus 13:21; Joshua 3:3-4; Psalm 23:1-3; Isaiah 42:16; John 16:13)
“We affirm that the LORD guided Abram, saying, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you."
We believe that the LORD went in front of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.
We affirm that Joshua commanded the people, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before."
We believe that the LORD is our shepherd, we shall not want. He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; he restores our souls. He leads us in right paths for his name's sake.
We affirm that by the prophet, God said, "I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them."
We believe Jesus when he promises the Spirit of truth, saying that he will guide us into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to us the things that are to come.”
A Blessing: Selections from Joshua
“Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed. The LORD your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Sanctify yourselves, therefore, for the place where you stand is holy.”
Today: Those dealing with Hurricane Sally
Day 180 | Tuesday, 15 September 2020
COVID-19 update: the county map is now by zip code instead of battalions. Total in the county – 582 with 150 in the 14701 zip code.
My daily jottings are available on audio. If you would like to have an audio version emailed to you just let me know.
A Beginning: Creation
“Morning glories - birds chirp their praise; trees lift their limbs in adoration, stretching as a prayer to heaven; birds of paradise stick out their necks in radiant splendor; all creation sings praise. The hills echo your love, the ocean is a wave of constant praise, the sky extends in blue wonder. Everywhere you look with eyes open to see, there are morning glories stirring us to praise.”
“We come into your presence with glad hearts, O Lord. We think of your innumerable benefits constantly showered upon us. We cannot help but let joy bubble up within us when we consider your grace bestowed upon us "good measure, pressed down, running over." Accept then, our praise and gratitude, and touch us all with your loving, healing hand. Amen.”
A Prayer of Confession:
“Loving Creator, you made us to praise you, to sing your glory in the marvels of the world. Yet, so often, we find our mouths filled with complaints and our word accompanying a whine. We complain about the weather, and we complain about not having enough - enough money or time or patience. We complain about other drivers, teachers, students, neighbors, roads - and the list goes on and on. Holy God, restore our perspective, lessen our fear and fill our hearts, our love and our voices with praise. In the saving name of Jesus. Amen.”
An Affirmation of Faith: Be Still and Know
(Psalm 46:10; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12)
“We believe we should be still and know that God is God! He is exalted among the nations he is exalted in the earth.
We believe Elijah heard the Word of the LORD, saying "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
We believe that there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
We believe that Jesus got up in the morning, while it was still very dark, and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed; that often he would withdraw to deserted places and pray; and that at least once he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.”
“O God of dry, lonely times and God of powerful company, O God who knows the hard times and the soft times, the good and the bad, draw near. Stay close as we confront our own devils and our own deviltry. Do not abandon us, just as you did not abandon your own Son. Give us the courage to face what we must and to come out richer in spirit, deeper in purpose and more capable of the life you hold out to us. In the name of Jesus. Amen”
A Blessing: “May almighty God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, bless and keep you forever. May God's unwavering grace be for each of us a very present help now and always. Amen.”
Day 179 | Monday, 14 September 2020 From the Church Mouse
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson
I’m sharing this information for any of you that are interested in the subject of social justice.
I thought, after all these years of studying this subject, that I understood it well. Was I ever wrong! The information below is taken from Amazon.com. I encourage you to read this book. It will certainly equip you to navigate part of our current struggle with greater understanding.
Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (author)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
“An instant American classic.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”
“In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.”
“Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.”
“Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.”
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