You are invited to join in an association-wide Lenten book reading event. All churches are encouraged to read the book which chronicles the rise and development of the heroin crisis: Dreamland by Sam Quinones. Congregations are urged to host a weekly book study during Lent. New, used, e-book and audio books are available from Amazon. Each Wednesday during Lent the Prophetic Witness Team will present on this page a new meditation based on the book, life experiences and issues of recovery.
Meditation Verse – Daniel 9:3
I then turned my face to my Lord God, asking for an answer with prayer and pleading, and with fasting, mourning clothes, and ashes.
Meditation Verse – Daniel 139:7-12
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Meditation Verse – Daniel 147:1-6a
Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure; The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
Meditation Verse – Isaiah 40:28-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Meditation Verse – Mark 11:1-11
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Meditation Verse – Esther 4:12-14
When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.
Meditation Verse – Matthew 22:36-40 Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We are members of congregations of the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations that are tired of seeing our friends, family and neighbors dying from opiate addiction. We raise our prophetic voices to let those who are addicted, and their friends and family members, know that they are No Longer Alone.
If you are interested in becoming a partner in this Prophetic Witness team, please email Rev. John Werner or call him at 440-213-4745.
Our purpose shall be to provide education centering around what faithful people can do to raise awareness around the current opiate crisis. We shall raise awareness within our churches, program districts, associations, conferences and national setting that the issue of opiate use is a theological imperative that the church must address. We ascribe to the sentiments found in Micah 6:8 that we must speak out for justice, love our fellow neighbors by showing mercy, and walk humbly together through mutual love.
We seek to provide education for clergy and laity alike within the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations of the United Church of Christ. We seek to provide training for both prevention and awareness believing these two components are key in addressing the opiate epidemic that has brutalized our communities. We realize that we must also affirm the children who have been left behind from this epidemic and help to encourage local members of congregations to support these children through scriptural plea, “to take care of the orphan”. We will advocate for local foster care programs and provide support and assistance as possible within our associations. We seek that there be two persons designated in each congregation to be points of access to foster local congregations into the understandings of what it means to be faithful persons engaging in prevention and education within the scope of the current opiate crisis.