CCC Blog

Scripture for Anxious Moments

Last Sunday in worship, we asked everyone to think about what scriptures they turn to when they’re feeling anxious or stressed.  We asked this during the announcement time as a way of “getting into” the theme of the message that was to come.

At our 9:15 service, there is a very active live-chat going on during worship and last week worshippers typed in their answers to that question in to the chat.  The response was so good we wanted to share with everyone.  Please use these scriptures if they help you in your own times of stress and chaos.  Blessings on your day...


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Thoughts on Prayer

The devotional book I’m using for my morning meditations is a Jesuit publication.  One of the submissions – that I happened to read this week – was provided by a Belgian Jesuit, Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ.  He shared some thoughts about prayer, which I wanted to share with you here.  Many of us wonder how best to pray; or if there is a “right” way to pray; or feel pressure when they pray.  While Sintobin’s words are not the be-all, end-all when it comes to prayer, I found them helpful and encouraging.  I hope you feel similarly. 



For the Christian, prayer is about the relationship with God, and in particular with Jesus.  It is our deepest opening to God.  It is to listen to him in his presence.  To pray is to be loved by him and to speak to him in confidence.  In prayer, all masks and facades can be removed.  God can come to us – truly come to us – when we are willing to be known as we are.


One time we may be happy, the next we may be sad.  It is possible that we are angry... with God or with another human being.  Whatever our emotions, we can express them to God in prayer. 


Prayer is not inborn.  It is something we can learn.  Fortunately, we don’t have to invent it all by ourselves.  Christians have been praying for two thousand years, so a lot of know-how has been developed already.  If you are looking for what can help you pray, it is good to let yourself be inspired by that thought. 


It stands to reason, then, that there are as many different ways of praying as there are people. 

Some people like to pray with texts, whether from the bible or not. 

Others like to pray without words. 

Some like to pray alone. 

Others like to pray in groups and prayer circles. 

Some prefer to pray in a quiet place. 

Others don’t mind the hustle and bustle. 

Some like to pray for along time, others much shorter. 


A good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.  And even this might change over time.  What helps you get to God one day may not work as well on another.  That is not strange.  So do not dismay if that happens to you.   


For there are as many different ways of praying as there are people.  And a good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.

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Holiness in Red

Holiness in Red

A gift appeared out my window this morning

A cardinal came to visit



Nearly every day I take up this place for morning devotions he is there perched atop the brown entanglement of dormant lilac branches

against the backdrop of equally-drab pillars of oak and maple

leaning in the same direction as though trudging off in search of warmer weather

limbs devoid of their green leaves

which have long since gone into hibernation


If I’m lucky, I’ll “catch” him

For if I stare out the window looking for him, he is not there

Only when I resume my activity - and suddenly look up - can I hope to see him

showing off a splash of vibrant crimson

as if to revel in the attention he knows I’m giving him

As long as I stop what I’m doing and admire him he remains in all his regal dignity


More than once, I have reached for my phone – slowly, carefully, quietly –

hoping to record his presence for my own future enjoyment

But every time

as if sensing my movement through the glass barrier that separates us

off he flutters

We play this game regularly, he and I, and he is usually the victor


Once I did it though! 

I clicked at just the right time to provide proof of his elusive presence

Yet when I opened the photo app, I dejectedly pressed delete

Nothing of the majesty and beauty recorded in my mind and memory was present there


So... I will resume my position in this rocker again

And I’ll settle for watching and waiting

for his next appearance

For he is out there

just beyond the edges of my view

of this I am sure

Preparing to take up his familiar perch

Among the barrenness and brokenness that is my view

And bringing to them his uniquely creative burst of crimson


Perhaps I will “catch him” again


Michael E. Karunas

Monday, January 18


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Where are you from???

 In our society today (and certainly for the better part of the last century) we more transient than sedentary.  We are a people on the move.  Did you know that 10% of all Americans move every year!  Or that the average American moves over 11 times in their lifetime!!!  Me?  My family never moved when I was growing up.  I was born and raised in the same house that my mother lived in for 50 years.  But since I left that home, I have lived in the deep south, the Midwest and overseas in a former communist country in Europe.  I would say that I’m “from” Michigan but I’ve only been in Michigan on average 2 weeks a year for the past 30 years.  And I’ve spent 1/3 of my life in the state of IL.  Moreover, all the places I have lived have welcomed me and accepted me in such a way that I considered it a “home.”  So where am I from, really?  And where are you from?  




In some cases, we give away where we’re from based on certain things about us.  Our behaviors – customs, idiosyncrasies - and certainly the way we speak.  We can tell if someone is from the Boston or Minnesota or the South just by the way they speak.  When I lived in Magdeburg, Germany (a city of 400,000 people), you could tell what neighborhood in the city a person was from by their accent and pronunciation.


And... we probably make judgments about people based on where they’re from – for a whole host of reasons that have more to do with who we are than with who they are.


Jesus encountered something similar in his lifetime.  On the one hand, he was “not accepted in his hometown” (MK 6) because the people who knew him there (where he was from) couldn’t believe that HE might be the Messiah.  And in John 7-8, the religious leaders couldn’t believe he was the Messiah because he came from Galilee – and everyone knew the prophecy predicted the Messiah would come not from Galilee but Judea.


Of course, Paul would later say – in Galatians and Ephesians – that it doesn’t matter where you’re from!  As long as you profess faith in Christ, whether you’re Jew or Greek, or slave or free, or male or female, it doesn’t matter.  And yet, where we’re from means everything to us.  For wherever we have been – wherever we have called “home” – it has influenced us and shaped us into the people we are today.


So today – and this week – give thanks for the place you call “home:” the place you are “from.”  It is important and it should be important – to you and to the world God calls you to impact; bringing the perspective of where you’re from to reveal God’s goodness and love.  

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