This week a friend posted for her friend’s listening pleasure, an oldie but goodie. I’ve been listening to this song over and over this week. It’s a YouTube video of The Seekers singing “I’ll Never Find Another You.” (I’ve included it at the end of this column for your listening pleasure if you so choose.)
I think what struck me about this song is the first line “There’s a new world somewhere/They call the promised land.” I had never thought about this song as talking about a promised land. It was always a romantic ballad that I listened to while I dreamily imagined a once-upon-a-time future romance. This week, though, it spoke to me in a totally different way. Songs always act as a catalyst for me as they turn my thoughts to the past. A time when I, living in my white bubble, saw the future as being nothing but rosy. So, when I hear it now, in the midst of a pandemic, having experienced sorrow and regret in my life, the music and words conjure up a wholly different image. An image that does give me hope, though.
Maybe The Seekers never thought of their lyrics and music as speaking of more than romantic love. But that first line brings me up short. There is a new world somewhere. It’s called the Promised Land. This pandemic will come to an end. I’m not wishing for a return to “normal” because I’m not sure our normal of a year ago is a place we want to stay in. But Jesus spoke of that world. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It’s a time when God’s world will invade our present world and we will know what it means to love one another and care for our neighbor.
During Lent we are called upon to use our imaginations and conjure up that new world. How can we be transformed so that when we are all vaccinated and able to visit family and friends we haven’t seen for a year, we will bring with us our changed hearts? The prophet Joel describes it thusly: “Then afterward I will pour out my spirit and flesh: your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).
I want to live in that place where justice rules the land. Where cops who murder Black men have accountability for their actions. Where legislators don't try time and again to enforce voter suppression. I want to live in a land where there is equity. We may not all be created equally but we all deserve to be treated in an equitable fashion. In this promised land white supremacists won’t whine because they perceive cancel culture when Dr. Seuss books, books that his own family deem racist, are no longer published.
The Seekers sing about a someone (they never directly refer to a male or female) who will hold their hand in the long journey. Someone who will walk with them through the storm and be their guide. This is the kind of love for which we all long. We want to know that we are safe. That there will be a hand to cling to when we are afraid, blown about by the winds of the storms we encounter. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water toward them on the boat, “they were terrified.” Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matt. 14:27).
This week as I listened to this song over and over, I heard God’s voice, speaking softly to me over the turbulent waters, “Do not be afraid.” When I heard the words, “if I should lose your love, dear, I don’t know what I’d do/For I know I’ll never find another you,” I realized that the love we all yearn for, the love that is there for us always, is the love of God through Jesus Christ. We can never lose that love.
Peace and grace, Deb
The Seekers – I'll Never Find Another You – 1964
Grades 1-5: Sundays from 9:30-10:00 am. Contact Jo Fisher at 617-839-0865 with any questions. Please note that the Zoom link is different for the next 3 weeks – look for an email from Julia Vaca with the new link.
Youth Grades 6-12: 2nd & 4th Sundays during worship at the start of the children's sermon. A zoom link is shared at that time in the worship zoom chat, and is also emailed in advance to the group. Contact Matt at email@example.com if you wish to be added.
Communion Sunday Worship 3/7 @ 10am
Welcome to online worship with PPC! Please have Communion elements (bread and juice) ready for celebrating the Lord's Supper.
By phone: call (646) 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 817 8173 3351
Click on the image below to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns.
While we are unable to pass the offering plate during worship, we hope you will continue to support the mission and ministry of the church if and as you are able—online, through your bank's bill payment system, or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906). All offerings are gratefully received. Thank you!
We invite you to stay online after worship for our virtual coffee hour.
Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
Nurture meeting after worship
The Nurture committee will meet following worship this Sunday, around 11:30am. A Zoom invite was emailed to the group. Please contact Kathy Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you did not get the email invite but are interested in attending.
Youth Group this Sunday
We will meet at our usual 4:30pm time. If you have the ability to have two devices this week, that's great – and if not, no worries, we'll make it work with one.
Presenting... our Youth Talent Show
You are invited! On Friday, March 12, at 6:30 pm, the Youth Group will share their Talent Show with the congregation.
Dial in by phone: (646) 558-8656 and enter meting ID: 892 5990 9527
We hope you can make it!
Lenten Bible Study
We are again using the Messiah as we listen and reflect on the Lent and Easter parts of the oratorio. We would love to have you join us on Tuesday evenings. Let Pastor Deb know you are interested (email@example.com) and she will add you to the email list.
(Virtual) Movie Night: Jesus Christ Superstar
Mark your calendars and plan to join us on Friday, March 26 for a congregational movie night! Bring your popcorn to your laptops/tablets/however you attend our Zoom worship services, and enjoy the thought of sitting in your darkened living room as if you were at the movie theater with lots of your friends. This movie musical was rated G in the '70s, though there is some violence (families can see Common Sense Media's review here). Time is TBD.
We invite you to pray with Scripture as a way of discerning what God is calling you to be and to do during this season of Lent. Click the image to download the pdf.
When it snows...
Like all of you homeowners, PPC is obliged to clear its sidewalks within a reasonable time. We are sometimes helped by the grounds crew of the neighboring Groden Center, but we don't presume that they will be able to help. If there is a significant snowfall and you are able to help with shoveling, please contact Dan Blackford at (401) 808-2605 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the church at (401) 861-1136 or email@example.com, so that efforts may be coordinated and shovels provided if needed. Thank you!
Continuing Fellowship and Service Opportunities
Contact the leaders listed below if you are interested in getting involved.