Editorial: Wisdom from the pulpit

  • Pastor Rob Gormbley of The First Congregational Church of Shelburne. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 7/21/2021 3:26:30 PM

Today, as in ages past, some of our brightest minds are speaking from the pulpit, offering insights both theological and secular. As we emerge from a pandemic, faith leaders offer perspectives that transcend charts, graphs, maps, data points and social media. Following, we continue our occasional compilation of wisdom culled from recent columns in the Faith Matters series on Saturday’s Religion Page.

From The Rev. Dr. Lloyd Parrill, UCC minister, retired: “Sadly, now we are engaged in a great civil and cultural war. It is an attack upon truth itself. The press is assailed as ‘fake news,’ the findings of science are debunked (global warming), and the exercise of free speech is taken to allow sedition and insurrection as ‘patriotic.’ I pray this nation and foundation on which it stands shall not only long endure, but thrive, with liberty and justice for all.” (Jan. 30, 2021)

From The Rev. Dr. Candi Ashenden, senior pastor at Athol Congregational Church: “All the world’s a pulpit. That doesn’t mean you need to be standing on a street corner proselytizing, but it does mean that every action you take and the very way you move through the world should make your faith evident. All the world’s a pulpit, so go out and let your faith shine!” (June 26, 2021)

From the Rev. Jason Burns of Greenfield: “The realization that we are not the lords of creation but are, in fact, simply one small part of it can be a hard pill to swallow. Despite our existence being about love for God and all of creation, we make the choice to ignore that purpose when we extinguish entire species of plants and animals. We make the choice to pollute the oceans, we make the choice to focus on our own happiness. But despite all of this, there is hope for redemption. There is hope that through God the redeemer we will change our ways and return to a life that focuses on both God and creation.” (June 12, 2021)

From GurujiMa of the Village of Light Ashram in Leverett: “Today, you are being invited to sing your own ‘note’ in the choir of all souls upon the Earth. For Christianity, that is the message of Easter and it is the message of the Resurrection. For those who come from other traditions, this is the message of the light of the soul, bursting forth now within human consciousness. This light shows the way for each one to become free to be themselves. Such is the gift of your own precious life, and the willingness to receive it will be of benefit to the entire planet.” (May 22, 2021)

From The Rev. Heather J. Blais, rector, Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew: “A group of radical thinkers asks us, ‘Is there nothing you can do about the environment? ‘Nothing’ may be one of the best things you can do: One day every week, do nothing.’ On our day of rest, the Green Sabbath Project encourages us to not do anything that creates carbon emission. Then, during the other six days we work, but we do so with an intentionality about caring for creation by reducing, reusing, recycling.” (May 8, 2021)

From Most Rev. William D. Byrne, Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield: “Theological hope is not wishing something to happen, it is knowing that God will prevail in spite of present challenges. It’s knowing that although it is cloudy, the sun is still up there. Hope believing that despite darkness, the Son is always there.” (Feb. 20, 2021)

From Ben Tousley, M.Div., spiritual counselor, Cooley Dickinson Hospice: “We are all in some way broken. What we reach for to bind us back together can remind us we are not alone but dependent on the wider community for our healing. The Jewish faith has a tradition called Tikkun Olam, which means to repair (or heal) the world through acts of kindness and justice. We know that our bodies have the healing power, when bones are broken, to heal back stronger. So, too, as history has demonstrated, does this democratic body, our country, have that ability to heal back stronger when hate and injustice divide us. May it be so.” (Jan. 23, 2021)

From the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Crosson-Harrington, First Congregational church of Whately, UCC: “My decision to get a puppy and have it trained for work in ministry brought with it my need to read up on dog training. I discovered that training is as much a task of the trainer as of the dog and requires certain qualities to be successful. I began to focus on how I could be the person this puppy needed me to be. As I made a list, I recognized these qualities: Patience, kindness, loving, looking for the best in others, forgiving. As I considered all this, Bible passages came to mind again and again. Weren’t these the very qualities that God is encouraging us to demonstrate?” (Jan. 16, 2021)

From The Rev. Randy Calvo, First Congregational Church of Sunderland, on the 245th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: “As a person of faith, that the foundation of this radical and liberating document is based on God-granted human equality amazes and inspires me. Universal human equality is the ideal that July Fourth celebrates. It is the basis of our democracy and why voting rights must be not only protected, but encouraged.” (July 3, 2021)

From Pastor Rob Gormbley, interim pastor, First Congregational Church of Shelburne, UCC: “Jesus and his disciples went to the beach to get away from the pressures of his mission. Taking a break from daily living is an important part of self care that has been difficult to come by over the last year. If you happen to find yourself on the beach, remember that you are in good company.” (June 5, 2021)


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