Lenten Devotional – MON, Mar 22: Persecuted

Commentators connect this week’s blessings with the earlier Beatitude passage about peacemakers. All the blessings are integrated. One scholar writes, ‘Here again there is a profound significance in the order. The work of the peacemakers is not a light and easy work.’  When believing in, and working for, a righteous or just cause, a person may suffer ridicule or harm.

What does persecution mean? Why would we ever put ourselves in a position to experience it?

Perhaps the threat or damage is verbal or physical, psychological or emotional, personal or social. It can come in the form of insults and lies, gossip and judgment. It may mean torture or bullying.

The reason for which one experiences the persecution is integral to the blessing. The reason — the cause that speaks to our values — is the only reason we’d risk anything that could be called persecution.

The people who are persecuted have found something for which they’re willing to take risks. They are folk choose uncommon, even revolutionary paths, in the sense of going against public opinion. They’re committed.

They’re the family, friends, neighbors and strangers we’ve met in earlier Beatitudes. The pure-hearted, who are single-minded and whole-hearted. The meek, who are kind but strong when they choose to hold their ground.

This state of being includes those who are passionate about their faith, and what it calls them to do for other people we also see in the Beatitudes: the hungry, the poor, the sorrowing, the powerless, the marginalized, the vulnerable, the hurt, the broken. Do you recognize yourself in this description, as one who will stand up for others, because of your faith-based values? — Rev Gail


Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. Voltaire

They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they’ve driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds. Amy Harmon

Challenge or Question: What causes require that you put yourself at risk, either exposed to public opinion or in some other form? Have you ever felt persecuted? Or perhaps, upon reflection, have you ever participated in the persecution of another person?

This Week: WED, Feb 20 – SUN, Feb 24

at Jackson Community Church and Around Town

WED, Feb 20

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. These classes will continue through the end of February, then the instructor will re-evaluate whether she can continue into March. Classes remain weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
    4pm • Parish House / Church Library, Second Floor.
    7pm • Parish House / Church Library, Second Floor.
    Open meeting of church staff, officers and team leaders to make governing decisions for the operations and mission of the church. Any friends or members welcome to attend.

THURS, Feb 21 

  • FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Feb 22

    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for caffeine, conversation. Or make a separate date to meet with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
    9:30-11:30am • Church. Drop by or make an appointment to meet with Rev Gail by texting or calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or by email.
  • Community Event: GUIDED SNOW SHOE TOURS
    10am & 1pm • Start from Jackson XC Ski Touring Center
    $15 includes ticket and tour; rental equipment available. Tours are approx. 90 minutes. More info.

SAT, Feb 23

  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responders for avalanche preparedness and response.
  • Community Event: GUIDED SNOW SHOE TOURS
    10am & 1pm • Start from Jackson XC Ski Touring Center. $15 includes ticket and tour; rental equipment available. Tours are approx. 90 minutes. More info.
  • Community Event: FAMILY SNOW SHOE TOUR
    10am -Noon. Meet at the Dr. Michael Cline Memorial Forest parking area on Bald Hill Rd, Tin Mountain Conservation Center.
    Who’s been here? Was it a fox, a bobcat, or even a fisher? Learn the four basic mammal track patterns and enjoy the morning outside on Tin Mountain’s new Bald Hill property. Families of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Dress warm and bring snowshoes or borrow ours. Call 447-6991 for reservations. More info.
  • United Church of Christ Event: PREPARED to SERVE8am – 8:45 am Registration and Refreshments / 9am – 4pm Workshop • Pembroke Academy,
    209 Academy Road, Pembroke, NH
    Walk-in registration welcome. Download the event brochure to get a preview of this year’s workshop selections. The church will reimburse the registration fee for this event for anyone from our community who wishes to attend! Rev Gail will be attending. Full schedule includes time for worship, attending workshops, viewing exhibits, and enjoying food and fellowship with folks from all over New Hampshire. Over 50 different workshops offered on a variety of topics. 

SUN, Feb 24

    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Foundation
    Rev Gail offers blessings to staff, volunteers and skiers.
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie
  • Community Event: BIZARRE BIRDS
    7pm • Jackson Public Library
    An exciting nature program “Bizarre Birds of the World” with Steve Hale, owner of Open World Explorers. With over 10,000 bird species in the world, there are some amazing featured creatures that stretch our understanding of what it means to be a bird. This entertaining and educational program features extreme examples of birds and bird biology.  Some of the special birds included in this program are the Hoatzin, Kakapo, Oilbird, Standard Wing Nightjar, and more. For more details, visit www.openworldexplorers.com. This lecture is free and open to the public, although a $5 donation is welcome. For more information, please contact the Jackson Public Library at 603-383-9731.


9am – 4pm
Nativity Lutheran Church

Come help paint and prep more rooms at Nativity Lutheran Church in order to welcome guests of the Way Station, a day resource center to provide essential services to the valley’s homeless and housing insecure population, including showers, laundry, internet access, post office box, lockers and more. Wear old clothing, supplies and paint will be provided! Staff and members of our church are serving as some of the motivating people behind the startup and opening of this new organization! Staff and members of our church are helping kick-start this initiative. 

Tue, Mar 5 • 6-8:30pm

  • Authentic New Orleans recipes (buffet style)
  • Warm-up music by  KHS student jazz ensemble
  • Featured music: live jazz with Heather Pierson’s trio!
  • Come for food & fun & music!
  • Dance and dine with friends!
  • Wear some bling, but we’ll have plenty of fun beads and costumes to share!
  • Suggested donation $5/pp or $10/family.

Wed, Mar 6

  • ASHES to GO
     7-9am @ JTown Deli & Noon-5pm / Church
    Ecumenical Observance facilitated by Clergy of the Eastern Slope
    6:30pm • Center Conway Methodist Church

This Week @ JCC & around Town: Aug 13-19

At church: balance class, fitness classes, yoga class, Sunday worship services. Community events: day resource center planning team, library book group, farmer’s market, concerts in valley, run or walk up Black Mtn, fundraising bike ride. Take note of upcoming events in which JCC will participate: fundraising walks, retreat.

Continue reading “This Week @ JCC & around Town: Aug 13-19”

This Week: Feb 27-Mar 5

Highlights: Tue, Feb 27: OptionB study group, deacon’s mtg; Wed, Feb 28: women’s group, council meeting; Thurs, Mar 1: soup & ski; Sun, Mar 4: worship; Mon, Mar 5: Mandala Monday

Continue reading “This Week: Feb 27-Mar 5”

Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle

Inspired by recent ski races, upcoming Olympic games, and today’s Superbowl Sunday, we discussed how we might pray during competitions or periods of conflict, stress, and struggle. We discussed forms of prayer or reflection that might center us at these times:

  1. For Preparation (becoming focused and ready to engage in the experience)
  2. For Support (intercession for comfort, strength, gifts and resources to go through the game, the contest, the stressful or conflicted situation)
  3. For Others (teammates, competitors/opponents, allies/friends, families/fans, coaches/teachers/mentors, colleages, etc)
  4. For Gratitude (thankfulness in the midst of challenge)

People sat at tables during brunch church, picked a scripture from among the collection of Bible passages in baskets at the table, and discussed their selected passage’s potential as a resource for prayer or reflection. People discussed how they might categorize the text among the four possible prayer opportunities above (prayers for preparation, for support, for others, for gratitude).

Here are the scriptures below. They were selected based on themes of athletes and contests, strength or vigor, images of body, gifts and blessings, victory and triumph, weakness or loss, and other such key ideas that might intersect with times of competition and challenge, conflict and struggle.

Is there one that resonates for you?

Continue reading “Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle”

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