A Prayer of Invocation Inspired by Ecclesiastes 3

Lord God, Creator of all Space and of all Time, the God who is and who was and who ever shall be, the Great I Am: changeless and yet everchanging.

God of Faith, we are thankful for your presence here with us today: You are always at our side, always believing in us, even when we fail to believe in ourselves.  You are always seeking to fill us with your peace and your strength and your love: helping us face the unending challenges of this world, weeping when we are hurting and broken, rejoicing to see us grow and prosper, helping us follow the path you intend for us as we journey through this life.

God of Hope, we gather here today, seeking refuge and rest; renewing our strength so that we may continue bringing your Gospel to a world that is not what it once was.  It is a new season, and all is changing.  We are tired, and we ourselves are not what we once were.  We seek to better know who we are, and better know who you are, that we may know who our neighbor is, and so that we may learn how to love them for who they are, as they are.

God of Love, help us to never fear nor fail to embrace those who are other, even those who reject us.  Help us love those who seem unlovable.  Help us see them with your eyes.  And, help us to love ourselves, for only with the love you have planted and are nurturing within us can we minister out of that love to our neighbors.

In the name of Jesus, whom you gave to this World out of your boundless love for all of your Creation, and your desire that all be healed, including us; Amen.

Delivered at Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Sudbury MA, September 18, 2022.

Copyright 2022, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Getting Real: Harvey

The New York Times just published an Op-Ed piece that discusses the link between Hurricane Harvey and Global Warming in a reasoned and balanced way.  The author, David Leonhardt’s point is that: “…when we are faced with actual misery that stems in part from climate change, we should be honest about it.  … What’s happening in Texas is heartbreaking, and yet it will be a more frequent part of modern life unless we do something about it. That, ultimately, is the most compassionate message about Harvey.”
Sadly, when we use the words “Climate Change,” many on the Right hear only “Libtard Conspiracy.”
Hurricane Harvey will not change that.

Continue reading “Getting Real: Harvey”

“Approve of Him”?

I’ve recently seen a spate of Facebook posts, political emails and opinion columns saying the writer can’t (and we shouldn’t) “approve of the President.”  I would suggest this is a fundamentally flawed approach…

Saying this suggests we should hate or dismiss the man for what and who he is.


And yet, as a minister, I and many of my peers constantly preach and demonstrate we love all of our neighbors no matter who they are or what they believe.  No matter what their race, income, nationality, immigration status, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Jesus taught that we are to love each other without judgment, without preconditions.

That includes the President, too.

So, I cannot approve of him, nor disapprove of him.

Continue reading ““Approve of Him”?”

You Sheep Scattering GLORY SEEKER!

Slapping a label on someone is a defense mechanism, it distances “the other” from us: making them seem to be “less than” in our minds. Labels can make others seem inconsequential or less than human, and so easier to dismiss, or ignore, or exclude, or oppress – or hate.

Labels hurt.

Lost in My Life (Price Tags)
by Rachel Perry Welty (2009) from the permanent collection of the Decordova Museum in Lincoln, MA

Not that this isn’t uncommon; but I’ve recently encountered quite a string of people who, being frustrated with my (admittedly) Progressive views, labeled me with various terms, including: “Anti-Jew”, “Palestinian Lover”, “Left Winger”, “Commie Extremist” (really?), and (my favorite) “sheep scattering GLORY SEEKER!”  (A close relative of this is the tendency some have to use phrases that reveal the unspoken labels they’ve applied to you.  Some of the most galling of these – for me – are when such phrases are used in a patronizing way, such as: “Your heart’s in a good place.”)

These attempts to make me into something other than I am got me to thinking: I was slapped with a label; then condemned or belittled for being (in their eyes) that label.  But, they know almost nothing about me beyond their label. So, they are condemning a label, not me – a phantom that has no reality.  There is no reason why I should accept such labels – or any label – as reflecting the “real me”; and in fact they say more about the person who bestowed the label upon me than they do about who I am (or who you are).

We all have a tendency to label people and things – it’s a perfectly natural thing to do. In fact, we are far more likely to do it to someone we don’t know than with someone who is close to us – and I’ll tell you my theory as to why…

Continue reading “You Sheep Scattering GLORY SEEKER!”

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