Monday Devotional
January 10, 2022
Dear Friend,
Praying the Newspaper
 
The morning newspaper can be a rich source of devotional material. I find that it can inform my prayer life. Let me explain.
 
In our local paper, each Saturday there is a listing of recent homes bought and sold. These are people experiencing transitions. Some of these transitions may be joyful, new beginnings. A first home. A move to a new community to begin a new job. Others may be met with sadness of what is being left behind. Either way, it is an anxious time. The listing of these individuals is an opportunity to pray for people in times of change.
 
Naturally, the obituaries provide an opportunity to pray for those who are grieving. In most cases, I do not know the people or families listed. The substance of their life is a mystery. But for each name there is someone grieving the loss, someone wishing they had one more day together. It doesn’t take but a moment to pray for the families listed in the daily obituaries.
 
Even the articles provide a rich source for our prayers. Recent front page articles have highlighted to impact of covid on our local hospital. We read about the weary staff working long hours to care for the people of our community. Such articles can lead us to pray for these hardworking neighbors, for those who are sick, for those who are having procedures and treatments delayed and the many ways covid is impacting our community.
 
Often our local paper includes articles from throughout the nation and even internationally. While such stories provide important information, they can also guide our prayers as we remember that we are part of a broader world. The victims of global tragedies are our neighbors and we pause to pray for them.
 
A good devotional not only informs and invites our prayers, but it also encourages our actions. As our prayers are guided by the things we read in our daily paper, it can be an opportunity to dedicate our lives in service. We pray for those whose lives are in transition and we commit ourselves to creating a community where houses become homes, where neighbors become friends, where love fills our community. We pray for those who are grieving and commit ourselves to providing comfort and care to those around us. We pray for those who are weary, those who are struggling and we commit ourselves to ways that provide support and help to those around us. We pray for national and international events and commit ourselves to be advocates for justice.
 
The morning paper can be a great place to start as we become informed, pray for those around us and act in ways that bring the good news of God’s love into the everyday circumstances around us.
 
Peace,
Howard
 
Covid infections continue to increase and hospitals throughout the state are overwhelmed. Columbus Regional Hospital has asked folks to help them in this crisis. Get vaccinated. Get the booster shot. Avoid large gatherings. Wear masks in public. These are simple things we can do to protect ourselves and one another.
 
To do our part as a congregation, we are suspending in-person worship for the rest of January. We will continue to provide worship services each Sunday at 10 a.m. online through the church Facebook page. We will evaluate when to resume in-person worship later this month.
 
A couple of notes about this. First, the church office will remain open Monday through Friday. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out. Secondly, we are leaving the decision for small group meetings up to those groups. Some may choose to meet online and we recommend checking before attending. Third, large gatherings like First Cares, our annual day of service, will be postponed for the time being. We hope to reschedule this when circumstances are safer for all.
 
We thank you for your understanding in this time. If you need help accessing the church Facebook page for worship or if there are other ways we can serve you, please do not hesitate to call or email the church office.
 
Book Club
The selection for the January book club is Jodi Picoult’s novel, “The Book of Two Ways.” This book explores the choices we make and the curiosity of how things might have been different if we had chosen a different course. The discussion will be held on Sunday January 16th at 6:00 p.m.